MOSCOW, November 21 (RAPSI) – The Spanish Prosecutor General’s Office has taken legal action against Catalan president Artur Mas for holding a symbolic independence survey on November 9 in defiance of a court injunction, RIA Novosti reported on Friday.
The charges have been brought against Mas’s deputy Joan Ortega and Education Minister Irene Rigau, because most of the polling stations were located at schools. All of them have been charged with civil disobedience, abuse of power, usurpation of duties and embezzlement of public funds.
Spanish and Catalonian prosecutors could not agree on the charges to be brought against and the other members of the Catalonian government.
Initially, Catalonian prosecutors said there were no reasons to bring charges, but on November 19 the board of the Catalonian Prosecutor General’s Office supported the decision taken by Spanish Attorney General Eduardo Torres-Dulce to bring charges against the above officials.
On November 9, Catalonians were invited to polling stations to express their opinion on proposed independence from Spain. Approximately 2.3 million of the 5.4 million qualified Catalonian voters turned out. Over 80 percent approved sovereignty. The Spanish government considers the non-binding referendum unconstitutional, and the Constitutional Court approved a relevant injunction.
The Supreme Court ruled against the Catalan authorities’ appeal against the Spanish government’s bringing the case to the Constitutional Court.
If Mas is found guilty of civil disobedience or abuse of power he would be banned from standing for public office for several years.
An embezzlement conviction could lead to a jail term of between three and six years.