MADRID: As 12 Catalan separatist leaders prepare to go on trial in Madrid, Spain has been forced to defend the independence and impartiality of its courts.

Catalan separatists have dismissed the high-profile trial that begins Tuesday at Spain’s Supreme Court as a “farce” whose outcome is already pre-determined.

Not so, says the government, which has published a thick file to show Spain’s justice system is just as fair as its European counterparts, citing rankings by the European Commission, the European Court of Human Rights and Transparency International.

Supreme Court President Carlos Lesmes points out that if the justice system really was not independent, the king’s brother-in-law would not be in jail for corruption, nor would a court ruling have sparked a no-confidence motion that brought down the conservative government in June.

“I think this will be the most important trial we’ve had in democracy,” he told reporters before the start of the trial. AFP

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