Catalan President will not accept prison in Spain for separatist leaders

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CATALAN President Joaquim Torra has said his government won’t tolerate separatist leaders being sent to prison for declaring independence.

A court decision due this autumn that could see independence leaders imprisoned for up to 30 years, will be critical in determining ongoing relations between Catalonia and the Spanish central government, Torra said.

His comments come as the region approaches the one-year anniversary of a tumultuous referendum (on October 1) that plunged Spain into a constitutional crisis.

“I presume nobody expects us to accept a conviction that’s a punishment, just like that,” said Torra.

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont remains in self-imposed exile after a German court refused to extradite him on charges of rebellion.

However, the new Socialist government led by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has called for more dialogue, which has been well received by Joaquim Torra.

“As long as there is dialogue and negotiations, we have to explore all possible ways to get the best deal for the country,” said Torra.

“Acting unilaterally is one of the options but I won’t give up on other ways if that means obtaining independence.”

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