Judge urges trial for ex-Catalan leader over secession vote

A judge has recommended the former Catalan regional president and two others stand trial for staging a vote on Catalonia's secession from Spain and ignoring a suspension order by the Constitutional Court.

Catalan regional court magistrate Juan Manuel Abril said Tuesday that investigations showed there is enough evidence to charge regional President Artur Mas and two ex-regional officials with grave disobedience and prevarication for staging the Nov. 9, 2014 non-binding ballot.

He said state prosecutors, who originally filed the suit, now have 10 days to formally seek an order for the trial.

Catalonia held the poll after plans to stage a proper referendum were suspended when the Spanish government challenged its legality.

Mas, president of the powerful northeastern region between 2010 and 2016, claims the ballot was staged by volunteers.