Catalan President 'Could be Arrested Over Independence Referendum'

World » EU | September 26, 2017, Tuesday // 10:16
Bulgaria: Catalan President 'Could be Arrested Over Independence Referendum'

Spain's chief public prosecutor on Monday refused to rule out ordering the arrest of Catalonia's president as Spanish authorities continued a crackdown against a banned independence referendum in the region, according to the

Jose Manuel Maza said Carles Puigdemont could be charged with civil disobedience, abuse of office and misuse of public funds for pressing ahead with preparations for the October 1 referendum.

"It's a decision that is possible but we have not considered that we should take it," Maza said during an interview with Onda Cero radio.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who meets US President Donald Trump in Washington on Tuesday, has repeatedly said that the vote - which his conservative party insists is illegal and unconstitutional - will not take place.

The legislation underpinning the vote has already been suspended by Spain's Constitutional Court.

Catalonia's leaders retort they have a right to decide their future even if it's not allowed by the constitution.

Madrid has responded with the heavy legal artillery at its disposal to block the vote, dealing a blow to plans to hold a vote with a semblance of legitimacy.

On Monday police summoned 17 people for allegedly developing web platforms dedicated to the banned referendum.

They are accused of allegedly "disseminating a website for people to participate in a referendum declared illegal by the Constitutional Court," a police spokesman said.

Meanwhile police visited the office of the mayor of Oliana, Miquel Sala, one of the over 700 mayors under investigation for pledging to cooperate with the referendum.

Absent at the time, he said his staff handed over only a report compiled for internal use summing up Madrid's position on the vote.

The chief public prosecutor in Catalonia has ordered Catalan regional police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, to go to polling stations on the day of the referendum and identify who is in charge and seize ballots and ballot boxes.

Polls show Catalans are split on the issue of independence, but a large majority want to vote in a legitimate referendum to settle the matter.

The court said over half of the amount, 2.8 million euros, was used by the Catalan government to buy laptops for polling stations during that vote. If they do not pay the amount by the deadline, the court could seize their property.

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Tags: independence, Catalan, Referendum, Donald Trump, Spain, vote, polling stations
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