Five Catalan separatists detained, including presidential candidate

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Madrid (AFP)

Five Catalan separatists, including current presidential candidate Jordi Turull, were placed in custody on Friday by the judge investigating the region's breakaway bid, the Supreme Court said.

The judge detained former Catalan parliament president Carme Forcadell and three former regional ministers alongside Turull, who will no longer be able to attend a debate scheduled Saturday on his nomination to lead the region.

The judge decided that the five pose a flight risk, after Marta Rovira became the latest leading pro-independence figure to flee abroad to escape charges.

Spain's Supreme Court on Friday said 13 Catalan separatists would be prosecuted in total, including sacked president Carles Puigdemont.

The latest detentions could stir new tensions in Catalonia, where pro-independence movements have called on supporters to protest on Friday night.

Catalonia remains under direct rule from Madrid, which was imposed after the region declared independence in October.