Jailed pro-independence minister kept in jail
Judge leaves him behind bars for risk of repeat offense, although he stepped down as MP last month
The Spanish Supreme Court kept the pro-independence jailed minister Joaquim Forn in prison on Friday. The judge argued that he poses a risk of repeat offense, although he stepped down from his post as MP on January 23 and rejected unilateral means to achieve independence. Forn has been in prison for exactly three months accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of funds.
Forn was the Catalan home affairs minister during the events that led to the referendum on self-determination and the declaration of independence last autumn. Despite giving up his post as MP, he will remain behind bars along with the Catalan deposed vice president, Oriol Junqueras, and two pro-independence grassroots leaders, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez.
"His ideology exists in a political context in which it is not certain that the intention to achieve the independence of Catalonia has vanished"
Pablo Larena · Supreme Court judge
The Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena said that it is not clear whether a majority of people in Catalonia commit themselves to pursuing independence through legal means—that is, abiding by the Spanish law. According to Llarena, Forn still maintains his independence aspirations, and those ideas "make it possible for him to repeat offenses that would seem absurd to people with opposite ideas."
"His ideology exists in a political context in which it is not certain that the intention to achieve the independence of Catalonia has vanished," the judge wrote. And added that "there are some sectors which explicitly defend that [independence] should be achieved immediately," and which are "sticking to secession mechanisms" opposed to the Spanish law.
On January 11, Forn and other imprisoned Catalan leaders rejected achieving independence unilaterally and requested the Court to review the case for which they had been preemptively jailed.
Later in the day, Carles Puigdemont took to Twitter to express his opinion on the matter. "The argument to keep Joaquim Forn in prison is an outrageous violation of civil and political rights," he tweeted.