700 Catalan mayors probed over referendum

Separatists' campaign for 'yes' starts Thursday

13 September, 16:23

    BARCELONA - The Spanish attorney general's office said that out of 948 Catalan mayors, about 700 are under investigation for supporting the independence referendum scheduled for October 1, and those who don't appear at the prosecutor's office when called to do so could be arrested. Spanish Attorney General José Manuel Maza sent a directive to Catalan prosecutor's offices ordering the more than 700 mayors belonging to the Association of Municipalities for Independence who support the referendum to be declared "under investigation, assisted by attorneys".

    Maza ordered those who refuse to appear at the prosecutor's office to be arrested by Catalan police and brought to the prosecutor's office "as quickly as possible", where the police, known as the Mossos d'Esquadra, "will act as judiciary police".

    Given the large number of those newly under investigation, the attorney general advised beginning with the mayors of the largest cities supporting Catalan President Puigdemont in organising the independence referendum. Maza said the possible charges against the mayors are the same as those for Puigdemont and his ministers who signed the decree calling the referendum: disobedience, abuse of power, and alleged embezzlement of public funds, which carry possible sentences of up to eight years in prison.

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