Catalonian President Artur Mas arrives to appear in court after being indicted by his region's supreme court for pushing ahead with a symbolic referendum on independence on November 9, 2014, in Barcelona, Spain, October 15, 2015. REUTERS/Albert Gea
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Mas and his two co-defendants deny the charges.Last year the Spanish government went to court to block Mas's plan for a full referendum, like Scotland's independence vote in September 2014 .Mas instead staged the November vote as a non-binding symbolic ballot.The hearing coincides with a sensitive date in Catalan history: the 75th anniversary of the execution of Catalan nationalist leader Lluis Companys by firing squad under Francisco Franco's dictatorship.Before his hearing, Mas laid flowers at a ceremony to commemorate the death of Companys, who in 1934 declared a short-lived Catalan state.Deepening the conflict with Madrid, Mas teamed up with other separatists in a joint list in the Sept. 27 Catalan regional election, making it a de facto vote on secession.
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