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Judge to decide today if six Catalan officials go to jail

Three senior MPs step down ahead of their hearing in the Spanish Supreme Court

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23 March 2018 10:02 AM

by

ACN | Madrid

Spain’s Supreme Court will announce today whether to send six Catalan politicians to pre-trial prison for their role in the October 1 referendum and the independence declaration.

In a hearing in Madrid, ministers of the sacked Catalan government, the secretary general of the pro-independence Esquerra Republicana (ERC) party and the former Catalan Parliament president will learn whether they will have to wait for the beginning of the trial behind bars, or if they can continue on bail. They all face up to 30 years in prison for alleged crimes of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

Ahead of their hearing, three senior politicians from ERC -Secretary General Marta Rovira, deposed minister Dolors Bassa, and former Parliament Speaker Carme Forcadell-, stepped down as MPs.

Jordi Turull, spokesman of the Carles Puigdemont government and current presidential candidate for Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), is keeping his seat, as do the deposed ministers Raül Romeva (ERC) and Josep Rull (JxCat).

Turull failed to get an overall majority to be elected president yesterday in Parliament. He could win a majority in the second round of voting on Saturday, but his fate is now in hands of Spain’s Supreme Court, which might decide to imprison him today.

Turull made it clear in Parliament that he would rather “risk being a victim of injustice than keep away from the current political moment,” referring to the possible prison sentence he is facing for the events leading to the declaration of independence last autumn. In comments to the press, his party colleague Josep Rull said there are "no reasons" to imprison the officials. "We always defended our ideas in a peaceful and democratic way," he added.

Turull, Rull, Romeva and Bassa, all testifying today, have already spent a month in pre-trial prison. Carme Forcadell spent a night in jail but was released on €100,000 bail, while Marta Rovira was able to skip jail by paying €60,000.

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  • Raül Romeva, Dolors Bassa and Carme Forcadell arrive at the Spanish Supreme Court in Madrid on March 23 (by ACN)

  • Raül Romeva, Dolors Bassa and Carme Forcadell arrive at the Spanish Supreme Court in Madrid on March 23 (by ACN)