Spain Won't Rule Out Jailing Separatist Chiefs, Maza Tells Mundo

In seeking to quash the illegal independence referendum Catalan separatists plan for Oct. 1, Spain’s central government might consider jail terms for officials who carry it out, the chief public prosecutor said in an interview with El Mundo newspaper.

At the same time, the state will try not to go too far to stop disobedience by officials, who are supported by thousands of people in pro-independence rallies, Jose Manuel Maza said.

Jose Manuel de la Maza

Photographer: Mariscal/EPA

“These gentlemen are looking for a reaction from the state that’s disproportionate, which would serve them very well,” Maza said. “You have to act with caution.”

The prosecutor’s office has ordered police to seize ballot boxes and is probing more than 700 mayors in the Catalonia region for supporting the vote, possibly with public funds. It hasn’t decided yet if it will seek jail for any officials, Maza said.

“Right now, what matters most is energy and firmness in defending the law, but also caution. We will act gradually, and in a measured manner.”

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