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Catalan lawmakers testify in separatist rebellion probe

MADRID — A defense lawyer said he plans to appeal a Spain Supreme Court judge’s decision to jail Catalonia’s top lawmaker on preliminary charges of rebellion in lieu of $175,000 bail.

Attorney Andreu Van den Eynde said he didn’t understand why the judge set harsher release terms for his client, Catalan Parliament speaker Carme Forcadell, than for five lawmakers who were let go after undergoing a day of questioning.

Van den Eynde said the judge’s decision came too late Thursday night for Forcadell to make bail and she would remain in custody at least until Friday.

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Roger Torrent, a spokesman for Forcadell’s Catalan Republican-Left party, accused the Spanish government of seeking ‘‘revenge against separatists.’’

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Six Catalan lawmakers testified before a Spanish judge Thursday over the central government’s claims that they ignored Constitutional Court orders by allowing an independence vote in the regional Parliament of Catalonia.

Forcadell was the first to be questioned by Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena and two prosecutors. She and five other members of the Parliament’s governing body are being investigated on possible charges of rebellion, sedition, and embezzlement.

Under Spanish law, the crimes are punishable by up to 30 years of imprisonment.

Prosecutors asked the judge to jail Forcadell and three of the lawmakers without bail, to set bail of $58,000 for another and to release the sixth while the investigation continues.

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The Oct. 27 vote in the Catalan Parliament over declaring Catalonia’s independence from Spain was boycotted by most opposition lawmakers. It passed 70-10 in the 135-seat legislative body.

Spain’s central authorities immediately seized control of the wealthy northeastern region, the first time in the four decades since General Francisco Franco’s dictatorship ended that Madrid removed powers from any of the country’s 17 regions.

Forcadell told prosecutors the independence vote was merely ‘‘declarative and symbolic,’’ according to lawyers familiar with Thursday’s Supreme Court proceedings.