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Ex-Catalan leader among three facing court for ignoring referendum ban

Former President of the Catalan regional Government Artur Mas, center, waves to the crowd as he arrives next to former education minister Irene Rigaua, left, and former Vice-president Joana Ortega at the Catalonia's high court in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. Thousands took the streets of Barcelona Monday to accompany three Catalan politicians, including a former regional president, as they walked to a high court where they face charges for disobeying a Constitutional order two years ago banning a vote on the region’s independence. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Three Catalan politicians, including a former regional president, walked to a court on Monday where they face charges for disobeying a constitutional order two years ago banning a vote on the region's independence.
Independence campaigners turned out in force in a show of support for the trio.
Former Catalan leader Artur Mas faces a 10-year ban from holding public office for allowing the November 2014 vote in which 80% of the 2.3 million who cast a ballot said they would support an independent state for Catalonia.
The mock referendum had been deemed illegal by Spain's Constitutional Court five days earlier.
The three defendants arrived for Monday's hearing at Catalonia's High Court accompanied by current leaders and other elected officials, as thousands of sympathisers carrying independence flags cheered.
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