SPAIN COURT CATALAN Spain’s top court set to announce verdict for Catalan separatist leaders

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Spain’s Supreme Court is expected to announce on Monday its verdict in the trial of Catalan separatist leaders, a judicial source said, in a decision that could reignite tensions over a secession push that plunged the country into its worst political crisis in decades.

The 12 Catalan politicians and civic leaders are facing charges ranging from rebellion to sedition and the misuse of public funds over their role in a 2017 banned referendum and the short-lived declaration of independence that followed.

Spanish authorities are bracing for potentially violent protests in the region.

Nine of the separatist’s leaders on trial are in jail awaiting their sentences, three are free on bail and four others, including former president Carles Puigdemont, are in self-imposed exile.

Catalan separatism has always prided itself on being a peaceful movement and its leaders say that has not changed, but there are concerns in Madrid that possibly heavy jail sentences for the separatist leaders could unleash more protests.

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