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Controllers to be tried for sedition in Madrid court

Attorney general warns that "we are not talking about a labor problem"

A lawsuit was officially lodged in Madrid yesterday against the air traffic controllers who staged a wildcat strike on December 3 and 4 for the crime of sedition, sources from the Public Prosecutor's Office said.

The action has not been directed expressly against the 26 controllers called to testify by the public prosecutor in Madrid, nor against the 175 in total who are subject to investigation, but against the controllers "in general," the same sources confirmed. It is expected that a decision will be made in the coming days as to which judicial body will be charged with bringing the case against the controllers.

As stated by the attorney general, Candido Conde-Pumpido, the Public Prosecutor's Office is to seek jail terms of up to eight years under article 20 of the Air Navigation Law.

"We are not talking about a labor problem because [the controllers] have not used legal avenues at any time, but staged a premeditated abandonment of airports causing grave damage to the citizens of Spain," Conde-Pumpido said.