Catalonia: 700 mayors summoned to court14/09/17Government
Spain’s public prosecutor has summoned more than 700 mayors from Catalonia to appear for questioning over support for a banned independence referendum.
Catalonia’s vote to break away from Spain is characterised as illegal, and has consequently been suspended by the constitutional court.
However, Catalonia’s pro-independence government added that the referendum planned for 1 October will continue.
José Manuel Maza, the current attorney general of Spain, said that any municipal leader who agreed to support the staging of next month’s vote should be arrested upon failure to appear at court.
Prosecutors ordered the seizure of ballot papers and voting materials. The Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office instructed security forces to removal all voting materials on Tuesday (12 September), in efforts to prevent the “consummation of crime”.
Should the vote go ahead, prosecutors could charge council leaders with the misuse of public funds.
The Association of Municipalities for Independence has written to Catalan officials assuring them that they are not doing anything wrong in helping to run the ballot, despite defying Spain’s constitutional court.
Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, and his conservative Popular Party, have vowed to stop the referendum. They argue that the vote cannot take place according to Spain’s 1978 constitution.
On Wednesday (13 September), the official referendum website was closed following a court order, Spain’s Guardia Civil police said.