Spanish Supreme Court moves to take over case against Catalan leaders
Spain’s highest court has imposed more lenient precautionary measures than the National Court, which sent 10 people to prison
The Spanish Supreme Court judge Pablo Llanera is moving to take over the case against Catalan pro-independence leaders from the National Court, which so far has imposed harsher precautionary measures on defendants, including prison without bail for eight deposed ministers and two civil society leaders. If it takes over the case, the Supreme Court might reconsider the imprisonments.
On Tuesday, Llanera reached out to his colleague in the National Court, Carmen Lamela, and asked her for details of the ongoing investigation into the Catalan government and grassroots leaders in relation to the October 1 referendum and the push for secession. This is a preliminary step before deciding whether to take over the case or not. Llanera has given Lamela five days to respond.
If the case is transferred to the Supreme Court, it would be added to the ongoing investigation into Catalan Parliament bureau members for allowing the declaration of independence on October 27. Among the charges they all face are rebellion and sedition, which carry prison sentences of up to 30 years.
So far, the precautionary measures imposed by the Supreme Court have been more lenient than those by the National Court. Parliament President Carme Forcadell spent a night in prison but was released after paying €150,000 bail. Bureau members were given a week to pay €25,000 bail. In contrast, the National Court sent government members to prison without bail.
The National Court is also handling the case against the deposed Catalan president and the four dismissed ministers who traveled to Brussels alleging they did not trust Spanish justice to give them a fair trial. A Belgian judge is to decide on Friday whether to accept an extradition order from Spain
One month in prison
Civil society leaders Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sánchez were the first pro-independence figures to be sent to prison. They have been held behind bars for almost a month pending charges of sedition.