At the beginning of October 2017, a referendum on Catalonian independence sparked a furious response from the Spanish state, amid accusations that the secessionist politicians and civil society activists behind the poll had committed sedition and rebellion and misused public funds.

Over the past four months, those charges have been controversially tested in a trial at Spain's Supreme Court, featuring 12 leaders of the independence movement. A verdict is expected this year and if found guilty the defendants could face many years in prison.

The case has raised serious questions about the independence of the Spanish judiciary, because of concerns over the state's decision to treat this deeply divisive issue as a criminal rather than political matter.

We sent filmmakers Sarah Spiller and Callum Macrae to investigate.

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