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Spain's top court orders halt to Catalan independence process

• http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Spain's top court has dealt a blow to Catalonia's push for independence by ordering the region's leaders to halt an 18-month process of forming a breakaway state, following an angry appeal from Madrid against the "destruction" of the Spanish nation.

The Constitutional Court was expected to allow an appeal from the government of Mariano Rajoy against the Catalan parliament's launch on Monday of a unilateral secession process, which would be suspended until a final ruling.

Under controversial new powers recently granted to the Constitutional Court, Catalan officials such as its defiant pro-independence president, Artur Mas, could be removed from office if they disobey the judges' decision. In a potential escalation of the tense standoff between Madrid and Barcelona, Mr Rajoy said he had requested that Mr Mas and 20 other senior Catalan officials should be personally informed of the court freeze on fresh independence measures.

It also emerged that the chief public prosecutor in Spain's High Court has instructed Catalonia's police force to report instances of sedition and rebellion against authority, offences which carry hefty jail sentences of between 10 and 30 years' imprisonment.

Speaking on Wednesday after an extraordinary cabinet meeting on the government's appeal, Mr Rajoy attacked Catalan leaders who wish to "end democracy and the rule of law" by ignoring constitutional limits. "This is something we cannot allow. I will not allow it," Spain's conservative leader continued, stressing that the appeal was being presented to protect the rights of Spaniards to decide their destiny as a nation.

"Democracy is being undermined; everything is being undermined," he said. "They are playing with feelings and rights of Spaniards and the love they feel for a country which some people want to destroy".

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Bob Podolsky
Entered on:

The right of non-association is fundamental to freedom. Abrogation of this right is logically equivalent to slavery. We in the U.S. "screwed the pooch" by not letting the southern states break free, by inflicting a civil war on those states that sought freedom from federal rule. Today history is repeating itself apparently in Spain. This is a good example of the fact that governments will stop at nothing to retain their power.



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