The Supreme Court of Spain on Thursday ordered 18 former politicians to stand trial for their involvement in the region’s independence referendum proposed by parliament last year.
Out of the 18 pro-independence leaders, nine are being held in prison and are expected to stand trial for rebellion, a charge that carries a 30 year prison sentence. The remaining nine, who have either been released on bail or have gone into exile, are facing charges that include rebellion, disobedience, and misuse of public funds.
Since Spain does not permit trials in absentia, former president Carles Puigdemont is not among the leaders ordered to stand trial. He absconded to Belgium last October to avoid being charged for the role he played in the independence declaration.
The prosecutor has five days to press charges against the 18 accused. The trial is set to begin in 2019.