Spain's Supreme Court reviews jailing of Catalan separatists

A group of 10 jailed Catalan separatist politicians and activists arrived Friday morning in police vans at a court complex in central Madrid where they plan to plea for their release.

Supreme Court magistrate Pablo Llarena is reviewing on Friday the provisional jailing of eight ousted Catalan Cabinet members, including former regional Vice-President Oriol Junqueras, and the leaders of pro-independence grassroots groups Assemblea Nacional Catalana and Omnium Cultural. The judge is investigating the eight politicians for possible rebellion, sedition and embezzlement charges related to an unconstitutional independence declaration by the Catalan parliament in late October.

The two activists are accused of sedition for their roles in protests in Barcelona that hindered a judicial investigation into preparations for an independence referendum on Oct. 1. Defence lawyers are arguing that they have all pledged to comply with the law and renounced unilateral independence moves for prosperous Catalonia. Most of them are also hoping to campaign as candidates for early regional polls this month.

The 10 requested the court appearance Friday to pledge lawful behaviour and renounce unilateral independence efforts in the hope of being released. Most of them are running in the Dec. 21 regional election called by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy following the central government's suspension of Catalonia's autonomous regional government.