[JURIST] The High Court of Justice of Catalonia summoned Catalonia, President Artur Mas [official website, in Catalan] on Tuesday over his involvement in the 2014 independence referendum [JURIST report]. Mas has been accused of civil disobedience, embezzlement of public funds and abuse of power. Mas is scheduled to appear in court on October 15, and he could possibly face a 10-year ban from holding public office in addition to up to one year in jail [Guardian report].
The Catalonia independence movement has gathered momentum in recent years following the economic crisis in the country that began in 2008. On Monday Spanish Prime Minster Mariano Rajoy [BBC profile] confirmed that the Spanish government has filed an appeal with the Constitutional Court [official website] challenging the November 9 independence referendum for the Catalonia region [BBC profile]. Last year Mas signed a decree [JURIST report] calling for a referendum on secession and independence from Spain, inciting confrontation from Spain’s central government in Madrid. In February 2014 Spain’s parliament rejected [JURIST report] Catalonia’s proposed referendum, which asked voters if they wanted Catalonia to become a state, and, in the case of an affirmative response, if they wanted this state to be independent.