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Nine Catalan Politicians Jailed, Could Face 30 Years Over Independence Declaration

Sacked Catalan President Carles Puigdemont makes a statement in this still image from video calling for the release of "the legitimate government of Catalonia", after a Spanish judge ordered nine Catalan secessionist leaders to be held in custody pending a potential trial over the region's independence push, in Brussels, Belgium, November 2, 2017. TV3 via REUTERS TVSacked Catalan President Carles Puigdemont makes a statement in this still image from video calling for the release of "the legitimate government of Catalonia", after a Spanish judge ordered nine Catalan secessionist leaders to be held in custody pending a potential trial over the region's independence push, in Brussels, Belgium, November 2, 2017. TV3 via REUTERS TV

Spanish authorities have jailed nine Catalan politicians for their involvement in Catalonia’s unilateral independence declaration.

An international arrest warrant will likely be issued Friday for Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium Monday. Puigdemont and four of his ministers failed to appear in court for questioning Thursday and they have no plans to return to Spain to face their charges.

“The legitimate government of Catalonia has been sent to jail for its ideas and for having been faithful to the mandate approved by the parliament of Catalonia,” Puigdemont said in a tweet.

A total of 20 regional politicians will face charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement, crimes that could land them in prison for up to 30 years.

“The defendants have played an active role by propelling the carefully designed secessionist process and overcoming all kinds of obstacles that could make them deviate from their final objective,” the judge said in court Thursday.

The Catalonian parliament voted to declare independence from Spain Friday after the national government threatened to take control of the region. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy moved to dissolve the Catalan parliament shortly after while calling a snap election scheduled for December.

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