Socialist leader says pre-trial prison is 'taking too long,' questions rebellion charges
Miquel Iceta admits jailing of pro-independence leaders makes political negotiation "more difficult"
The leader of the Socialist party in Catalonia (PSC), Miquel Iceta, said on Wednesday that pro-independence leaders have been in pre-trial prison for "too long."
In an event in Madrid, Iceta also questioned the "rebellion charges" against activists and members of the former Catalan government and Parliament. "I don't see it," he admitted, while stating that nonetheless he has to "respect" judicial decisions.
On Wednesday, the Spanish Constitutional Court rejected an appeal by former Parliament speaker Carme Forcadell to be released from prison. She has been in pre-trial jail accused of rebellion since March. Eight others are also behind bars, four of them since November last year.
Iceta praised the Spanish Socialist government, led by party-colleague Pedro Sánchez, for having helped reach agreements between Madrid and Barcelona. "His recipe is working," he said.
"There is no risk for the Catalan parliament to declare independence"
Miquel Iceta· Catalan Socialist leader
"Every small agreement should be celebrated as a big step," he said. Only this week, the Catalan and Spanish governments reached consensus on economic issues. Bilateral meetings have been called in recent months for the first time in years, after years of a lack of dialogue.
However, the Socialist leader in Catalonia admitted that having pro-independence leaders in jail makes political discussions "more difficult."
Catalan government is "more realist"
In Madrid, Miquel Iceta said that the new Catalan government is starting to "accept the mistakes of the past" and shows signs of not wanting to "repeat them in the future."
"There is no risk for the Catalan parliament to declare independence," he stated.
Iceta recognized that there are "two million people" in favor of independence and that what brings together pro-independence parties is, precisely, having "leaders in jail."
Catalan government: "one day in prison is one day too much"
Meanwhile, the Catalan government spokeswoman, Elsa Artadi, replied to Iceta by saying pro-independence leaders should not be in jail to start with. "One day in pre-trial prison is already excessive: there is no need to reach a situation of almost one year in pre-trial prison. It's not about whether this is too much or too little. One day in this pre-trial prison is unfair and shocking."