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Spain Ex-Catalonia VP tells trial court voting isn’t crime

MADRID — The former regional vice president of Catalonia’s government has told Spain’s Supreme Court voting in a banned referendum on breaking away from Spain can’t be considered a crime.

Oriol Junqueras is one of a dozen politicians and activists on trial for a failed 2017 attempt to make the wealthy northeastern region an independent republic by holding the referendum even though courts prohibited it and making a subsequent declaration of independence.

State prosecutors accuse Junqueras of rebellion, which carries a prison sentence of up to 25 years.

As four months of hearings drew to a close Wednesday, Junqueras said in his final statement that the issue of Catalan independence belongs in the sphere of politics, not in a courtroom.

A verdict isn’t expected for months.

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