NICOLA Sturgeon has sent a message of support to the Catalan independence leaders whose trial is getting under way in Madrid.

Writing on Twitter, the First Minister said: “These trials of elected politicians should concern all democrats. The future of Catalonia should be decided through the ballot box, not in the courts. I am sending my best wishes today to the Catalan President and those facing trial. Let’s hope the process is demonstrably fair.”

More than 200 armed police are outside the Spanish Supreme Court as hundreds of people que to get into the trial.

A total of 12 former members of government and grassroots leaders – including Oriol Junqueras, Joaquim Forn and Carme Forcadell – are charged with sedition and rebellion for their part in the 2017 independence referendum which led to a declaration of independence.