THE nine pro-Catalan independence leaders have been moved from jails in Catalonia to establishments in Madrid, in preparation for their trial.

They had been incarcerated for the past seven months in three prisons, but early this morning a huge police operation got under way to take them to Brians II in Barcelona.

Once there, they were transferred into the custody of Spain’s Guardia Civil.

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Catalan President Quim Torra and members of his government, along with dozens of supporters, were at Brians II to greet them, as a police helicopter hovered over the fleet of Guardia Civil vehicles.

In Madrid, the prisoners will be moved two jails, but no date has yet been given for the start of the trials for their roles in Catalonia’s independence referendum in October 2017.