MADRID – The Latest on Spain's confrontation with Catalan separatists (all times local):
A prominent Catalan separatist politician has defied a summons to appear in a Spanish court and says in a letter to her party followers that she has chosen "the path to exile."
Marta Rovira does not say in the letter whether she has left Spain already or where she might go, but six other Catalan politicians, including ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, earlier fled to Brussels.
As the secretary general of the Catalan republican-left ERC party, Rovira played a key role in last year's events, including an independence referendum that led to a failed attempt to secede from Spain.
"Today I undertake a hard road, a path that, unfortunately, so many others that preceded us have had to take," Rovira wrote in a letter posted on ERC's website. "The path of exile."
The unity of Spain in enshrined in the country's Constitution and secession is not allowed without a reform of the top law.
A Spanish Supreme Court probe into last year's attempt to secede Catalonia from Spain wraps up Friday with the judge expected to charge 28 regional politicians and separatist leaders with offenses that may include rebellion.
Judge Pablo Llarena has summoned lawyers, prosecutors, as well as six separatist politicians — an indication that he may order them jailed pending trial. They include Jordi Turull, a former minister of the ousted regional Cabinet who on Thursday failed in his bid to be elected as the region's new president, as well as a former speaker of the Catalan parliament and prominent members of the republican-left ERC party.
Four other accused are already in custody and six have fled overseas.
The semiautonomous region has been without a leader for nearly five months after central authorities took control following an illegal independence declaration.