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Spanish judge strips Catalonia’s ex-leaders of public office

July 10, 2018
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In this photo made available by Presidencia del Gobierno on Monday, July 9, 2018, Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, speaks with Catalan regional president, Quim Torra, at the Moncloa palace in Madrid. The new heads of Spain and Catalonia have agreed on opening a bilateral dialogue over the future of the northeastern prosperous region in the first breakthrough in the years-long political standoff between the central and regional governments. (Pool Moncloa via AP)

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s Supreme Court is stripping six prominent Catalan politicians of public office for trying to make the northeastern region of the country independent.

Judge Pablo Llarena also ruled Tuesday that the six secessionists be sent to trial on charges of rebellion, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.

Those charged include former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who is fighting extradition from Germany, and former regional Vice President Oriol Junqueras.

Llarena left it up to the Catalan regional parliament, where the rebellion defendants now are lawmakers, whether to replace them.

Llarena was tasked with investigating what took place in Catalonia in October, when Puigdemont’s government disobeyed a court ban on holding a secession vote and the regional parliament unilaterally declared independence.

The events triggered Spain’s most severe political crisis in decades.

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