October 25, 2018 / 11:55 AM / in 4 months

Spain's Supreme Court sends Catalan independence leaders to trial

FILE PHOTO: People hold up Catalan separatist flags and letters spelling out "Freedom" as they gather for a rally on Catalonia's national day 'La Diada' in Barcelona, Spain, September 11, 2018. REUTERS/Albert Gea

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s Supreme Court on Thursday said it had ended its investigation against 18 Catalan independence leaders who will now face trial, likely at the beginning of next year.

The prosecutor now has five working days to press charges related to an illegal push for independence of the north eastern region of Catalonia in 2017.

Nine of those leaders are currently held in prison in Spain ahead of the trial and are expected to be tried for rebellion, which carries a potential sentence of up to 30 years in jail.

The other nine, who have been released on bail or went into self-imposed exile, face charges ranging from rebellion to misuse of public funds and disobedience.

Reporting by Rodrigo de Miguel; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Jose Elias Rodriguez and Julien Toyer

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