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Catalan Ex-Minister Faces Court Over Co-Organizing 2014 Independence Referendum

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Catalonia's former Minister for the Presidency Francesc Homs appeared in the Catalan Supreme Court (TSJC) on Monday over his role in organizing the 2014 Catalan self-determination referendum.

People hold Catalan separatist flags known as Esteladas during a gathering to mark the Catalonia day Diada in central Barcelona, Spain, September 11, 2016. - Sputnik International
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MADRID (Sputnik) — Homs is being accused, alongside several other Catalan officials, of co-organizing the 2014 referendum, as well as facing additional accusations of disobedience, public funds misappropriation and a perversion of justice.

"We acted in accordance with Catalan parliament's mandate, within the bounds of law safeguarding civil participation, the freedom of expression and of ideology," Homs told the 24 Horas television channel after testifying in court and refusing to plead guilty.

Homs, who is now a member of the Spanish parliament from the pro-independence Catalan Democratic Party, called the case politically motivated and aimed at obstructing Catalonia's independence.

"The courts have delved into politics," he added, stressing that the process lacks legitimacy and expressing certainty that it will end in a guilty verdict.

Earlier in September, Catalonia's Supreme Court resumed proceedings against former regional president Artur Mas, as well as former Vice-President Joana Ortega and former Education Minister Irene Rigau on similar charges.

Catalonia, a Spanish province with an autonomous status, has long sought independence from Spain, but Madrid has repeatedly declined Catalonia’s quest for independence.

On November 9, 2014, about 80 percent of the Catalans who took part in a non-binding referendum on the region's status as part of Spain voted in favor of Catalonia becoming a state.

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