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  • Jordi Turull, a Catalan independentist leader, walks with his wife Blanca Bragulat after leaving Spain

    Jordi Turull, a Catalan independentist leader, walks with his wife Blanca Bragulat after leaving Spain's Supreme Court in Madrid, March 23, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 December 2018

Two of the leaders in custody, Josep Rull and Joaquim Forn, released a statement saying they would join the hunger strike started on Saturday by Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Turull.

Two more jailed Catalan independentist leaders awaiting trial for their role in the region’s bid to secede from Spain joined a hunger strike started two days ago by two of their companions to protest against their treatment by Spanish courts.

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After Catalonia declared independence last year, Madrid took direct control of the region and brought charges including misuse of public funds and rebellion against Catalan leaders, nine of whom are in jail awaiting trial.

“We also voluntarily renounce food intake as of 8.00 p.m. on Monday,” the men said in a statement.

The men said they were fasting to support Sanchez and Turull’s protest against the failure of Spanish courts to process numerous appeals in relation to their cases.

The prosecutor proposal suggested 16 years imprisonment for five former advisors of the Catalan Executive branch; and 17 years of jail for both the former president of Catalonia's Regional Parliament and two leaders of social organizations supporting independence.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, the accused Pro-independence leaders' declarations contributed to a public environment of violence and intimidation.

The modern Catalan uprising stems from the 2010 Spanish constitutional court ruling undoing the regional government’s aspiration for more autonomy, deeming the 2006 Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia unconstitutional.

The statute was challenged by the right-wing Popular Party, which also ordered a violent crackdown of Catalan protesters following the independence referendum.

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