October 17, 2017 / 8:27 AM / 2 years ago

Detention of Catalan activists a judicial, not political, matter: Spain justice minister

A man holds up a placard reading "Freedom Political Prisoners, Sanchez, Cuixart" in reference to leaders of two of the largest Catalan separatist organizations, Catalan National Assembly's Jordi Sanchez and Omnium's Jordi Cuixart, who were jailed by Spain's High Court, during a gathering in front of the regional government headquarters, the Generalitat, in Barcelona, Spain October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

MADRID (Reuters) - The detention of Catalan activists on Monday, the first imprisonment of senior secessionist figures since the region’s Oct. 1 banned referendum on independence, was a judicial, not a political, matter, Spain’s justice minister said on Tuesday.

On Monday, the court ordered that the heads of the pro-independence groups Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium be held without bail pending an investigation for alleged sedition.

“These are not political prisoners because yesterday’s prison ruling was due to a crime (that was committed),” Justice Minister Rafael Catala said at an event in Madrid.

Reporting by Raquel Castillo; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Isla Binnie

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