SCOTLAND’s independence referendum of 2014 is being held up as a democratic example in defence papers lodged by some of the Catalan political prisoners as they prepare for trial over their own indyref.

A total of 18 people face being tried – starting next week – for their parts in the October 2017 poll which led to a declaration of independence.

A dozen of them will be tried at Spain’s Supreme Court for alleged sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds, including former vice president Oriol Junqueras, external affairs minister, Raul Romeva and grassroots leaders Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez.

In his defence papers, Cuixart’s legal team said the September 18, 2014 indyref in Scotland was held after an agreement between the Scottish and UK Governments.

He is president of the pro-independence Omnium Cultural, which sent a team here after our poll.

“Omnium entity sent a delegation to Scotland that held meetings with experts from the universities, political parties and representatives of civil society to know how the debates on self-determination were carried out, how the volunteers organised the argument and the role of civil society in the referendum,” his papers read.

Omnium was also involved in the advisory poll in Catalonia in November 2014, under the slogan “Now is the Time” and worked with the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) organising support under a manifesto calling for “the governments of Spain and Catalonia to work together to allow the Catalans to vote on their political future”.

His lawyers say Cuixart has worked tirelessly in the defence of human rights and that Spain would stop at nothing to halt his work: “We can only conclude that we are in a serious context of legal exceptionality as a result of the will of the powers of the state to protect at all costs ... Spanish territorial unity.”

Andreu Van den Eynde, who is representing Junqueras and Romeva, said before our referendum, then prime minister David Cameron said he had allowed it because the UK was a democracy. The advisory poll on Catalan independence – supported by 80% of those who took part – was held in November 2014.

“The Catalan government continued to focus on counting their support for their project,” said Van den Eynde. “To that end and since [Spain is] a democracy the elections could not be banned … and returned a majority in favour of independence.”

Meanwhile, plans to move the prisoners today from jails near Barcelona to Madrid, where they will be tried, have been delayed. Authorities are not giving an alternative date because of security concerns.

The decision came as Attorney General Maria Jose Segarra said there would be no international observers at the trials – as requested by several human rights groups – because they would be televised.