Spain: Ex-Catalonia VP tells trial court voting isn't crime
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Spain: Ex-Catalonia VP tells trial court voting isn't crime

FILE - In this Saturday, March 16, 2019 file photo, Catalan pro-independence demonstrators wave "esteladas," or separatist flags during a rally in Madrid, Spain. A dozen politicians and activists on trial for their failed bid in 2017 to carve out an independent Catalan republic in northeastern Spain will deliver their final statements Wednesday June 12, 2019, as four months of hearings draw to an end. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)

MADRID — The former regional vice-president of Catalonia’s government has told Spain’s Supreme Court voting in a banned referendum on breaking away from Spain can’t be considered a crime.

Oriol Junqueras is one of a dozen politicians and activists on trial for a failed 2017 attempt to make the wealthy northeastern region an independent republic by holding the referendum even though courts prohibited it and making a subsequent declaration of independence.

State prosecutors accuse Junqueras of rebellion, which carries a prison sentence of up to 25 years.

As four months of hearings drew to a close Wednesday, Junqueras said in his final statement that the issue of Catalan independence belongs in the sphere of politics, not in a courtroom.

A verdict isn’t expected for months.

The Associated Press

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