Leading Catalan separatist in Switzerland to evade justice

Catalan separatists have held protests for months

The Spain-wide arrest warrant was issued on Wednesday by the Supreme Court in Madrid, after Gabriel failed to show up for a hearing accusing her (and others) of rebellion and sedition.

Gabriel is among various Catalan politicians who have been called to appear before the Supreme Court in Madrid to give evidence.

The far-right party VOX is also getting involved in the process, and they just announced their lawyers would demand "harsh measures" on Gabriel.

Gabriel had said she wasn't going to attend the hearing since she considers the accusations to be politically motivated and believes she wouldn't have a fair trial. "I am being prosecuted for my political activity and the government press has already convicted me", she explained.

The anti-capitalist CUP, which has pushed hard for unilateral secession, has a small parliamentary presence but its support is crucial to the pro-independence bloc.

"If I stay in Switzerland, I will try and go back into academia, to settle here and work", said the former professor of law at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four members of his former Cabinet have also ignored a court summons late past year and are now in Belgium.

Following the regional election in December, pro-independence parties continued to hold a narrow majority in the Catalan parliament, though attempts to reinstate Puigdemont as head while he resides overseas have failed.

Gabriel is the party's most famous member, hugely popular with CUP supporters for her fiery speeches in parliament in favor of independence.

The activist also told a Swiss broadcaster in an interview aired on Tuesday that she would apply for asylum in Switzerland if Spanish authorities sought her extradition.

The public prosecutors were demanding an global arrest warrant so they could file for an extradition petition, but judge Pablo Llarena rejected and limited it to national territory.

In Le Temps newspaper, Gabriel said she has got death threats from far-right extremists, and charged that the government was not "doing anything to safeguard our security faced with fascists' violence".

Left republican ERC party Secretary General Marta Rovira was questioned by an investigating magistrate for her role in the October defiance that triggered Spain's severest political crisis in decades.

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four members of his former Cabinet fled to Belgium in October, days after regional separatist lawmakers passed an illegal independence declaration.

These include Catalonia's former vice president Oriol Junqueras.

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