A BARCELONA court is to prosecute 30 public figures for a series of alleged crimes connected with the logistics of the October 2017 independence referendum. A joint bail of €6 million (£5.1m) has been set for 17 who are accused of embezzlement.

Many of the accused held intermediate positions in the government of former president Carles Puigdemont, and include Albert Royo, former director of Catalonia’s Public Diplomacy Council, Diplocat.

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Others were involved in foreign affairs for the government and several are connected with Catalan media, including Catalan Broadcasting Corporation president, Núria Llorach, Vicent Sanchis, director of TV3, director of Catalonia Radio, Saül Gordillo and Martí Patxot, a director of the Catalan Media Corporation.

Their alleged crimes range from using public money to help finance the referendum, disobedience, revealing secrets and falsifying documents.

The Assembly in Defence of Catalan Institutions (Adic) said it rejected what it described as “a new act of repression against Catalan institutions and their employees”. It has already started raising cash for the bail, which is due to be paid within 24 hours, and has organised a protest today in Barcelona.

The move to indict more accused over the referendum came as a Belgian investigation revealed that a prosecutor in Spain’s National Court could have been linked to an espionage plot against Puigdemont, said the Catalan News Agency (ACN).

Sources in Belgium told reporters a police investigation had revealed prosecutor Carlos Bautista Samaniego – an expert in European arrest warrants – was in a hotel linked to a spying operation against the politician that started in January 2018.

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Another person, allegedly linked to Spain’s justice ministry, a Spanish businessman and three IT technicians were also in the same hotel, police said.

A Catalan police officer guarding Puigdemont found a tracking device under the bumper of a vehicle used by him in February 2018, when he was trying to be reinstated remotely as president. The following day, Belgian police spotted a second device in the engine of another vehicle he used. ACN said the plot did not have the permission of Belgian authorities, according to a parliamentary report which linked it to Spain.

Meanwhile, the Council of Eujrope's human rights commissioner, Dunja Mijatovic, has said she is “following very closely” the trial of Catalan indy leaders, and “the human rights situation in Spain in general”. She said while she was “silent at the moment”, it did not mean she was unaware of the case.