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Spain Catalonia: Four top separatists to stay in jail

Two senior figures in the sacked Catalan separatist government must stay in jail but six others can go free, a Spanish supreme court judge has ruled.

The six set to leave Spanish jails must post bail of €100,000 (£88,000; $120,000) each. Two top activists must also remain in jail.

The separatists were remanded in custody last month. Catalan ex-President Carles Puigdemont fled to Belgium. All are accused of sedition.

Spain feared the others could flee too.

The ruling came a day before the start of campaigning for the 21 December Catalan regional election.

The judge in Madrid ruled that Mr Puigdemont’s deputy Oriol Junqueras and Catalan ex-Interior Minister Joaquim Forn must stay in jail, along with grassroots separatist leaders Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart.

The eight politicians are accused of rebellion and sedition over the region’s illegal declaration of independence in October.

Separately, Mr Puigdemont and four other ex-ministers appeared in court in Brussels. Spain wants them to be extradited, and a ruling in their case is expected next week.

After the Catalan independence referendum and declaration of a “republic” Spain imposed direct rule on the region and called early elections there.

Rebellion is considered one of the most serious crimes in Spain, carrying a jail term of up to 30 years.

Eight ex-ministers have been in Spanish prisons since 2 November.

Mr Junqueras leads Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), one of the main separatist parties.

Those freed on bail are:

  • Former foreign policy chief Raül Romeva
  • Former Justice Minister Carles Mundó
  • Former Labour Minister Dolors Bassa
  • Former Government Presidency Councillor Jordi Turull
  • Former Sustainable Development Minister Josep Rull
  • Former Culture Minister Meritxell Borras.