Former Catalan president leaves court without preemptive measures
Artur Mas left the Supreme Court after a two-hour hearing
The former president of Catalonia, Artur Mas, appeared in the Spanish Supreme Court on Tuesday as part of a major investigation on the political roadmap that led to a declaration of independence last October. Mas faces criminal charges of rebellion, sedition, and misuse of public funds. After a two-hour hearing, he left court without any preemptive measures taken against him.
There are currently 28 people under investigation for their role in Catalonia’s push for independence. In total, 12 leaders have been preemptively sent to jail at some point during the investigation, while four remain behind bars.
According to investigation sources, Mas told the judge that the declaration of independence was "purely symbolic," thus playing down the importance of what was regarded as a major act of defiance against the Spanish government. Mas told Carles Puigdemont, the president at the time, that calling a snap election was better than going ahead with independence plans.
Yet, Mas assures that he does not have any regrets. He defended "Catalonia's sovereignty and the right of the Catalan people to independence: that is, a Catalan state in Europe."
The former head of the association of municipalities in favor of independence (AMI), Neus Lloveras, who was also summoned to appear in court, left the Supreme Court after her hearing without any preemptive measures.
In 2012, Mas galvanized the independence bid at the institutional level by calling an election in which pro-independence parties won a majority of seats in parliament for the first time. As president, he became the most visible figure of Catalan politics.
In 2016, Mas resigned as president after the far-left CUP party refused to back a pro-independence government led by him. Mas ceded his post to Carles Puigdemont, who went ahead with independence plans and is currently in Belgium.