Judge Frees 6 People Jailed in Crackdown on Catalan Independence Referendum

A Catalan regional judge has ordered the release with restrictions of six people arrested as part of a crackdown by Spanish authorities on preparations for an Oct. 1 independence referendum for Catalonia, which Spain says is illegal.

A Catalan regional judiciary body statement said the six declined to testify Friday when brought before the judge. Several others were also arrested Wednesday but were later released.

A demonstration in Barcelona has been held for the past 24 hours to protest the arrests but it may now be suspended.

The statement said the six remain under investigation for disobedience, abuse of power and embezzlement and must appear before court each week. They include Josep Maria Jove, the secretary general of economic affairs for the region and No. 2 to the region’s vice president, Oriol Junqueras.

The Catalan regional government Friday removed Jove from his post to try to avoid him having to pay a hefty Constitutional Court fine daily for his actions.

Source: Associated Press