Why this story matters:
The detention of the Catalan leaders came as a surprise, especially after the Catalan Parliament met to choose a new leader and independence parties declared they wanted “dialogue, dialogue and more dialogue” with the Spanish government.
The leaders are being charged with rebellion, which in Spain requires violence or incitation of violence for it to be considered a crime.
This means many leaders of the separatist movement now face a legal battle. It also happens to come at a delicate moment, when the public is growing more and more angry over the prosecution of rappers, actors, journalists and social media commentators for expressing their political views.
Details from the story:
- The five separatist leaders, now held in detention pending their trial, have joined four other Catalan leaders who have been detained for months.
- The judge is accusing the leaders of rebellion, disobedience or embezzlement for carrying out their separatist agenda. Some could face up to 35 years in prison.
- Catalonia's ex-leader, Carles Puigdemont, was detained by German police Sunday en route to Belgium.
- There are still seven pro-Catalan politicians in self-imposed exile in Europe who are wanted by the Spanish judiciary.
- Tens of thousands have taken to the streets to show their support for the leaders arrested over the weekend.