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Prosecutor opposes swearing jailed leader in as president

Spain’s Supreme Court yet to decide whether to grant Jordi Sànchez’s request to leave prison and assume office on Monday

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09 March 2018 12:47 PM

by

ACN | Madrid

With just a few days before the parliament meets to appoint Jordi Sànchez as the Catalan president on Monday, it is far from clear whether he will be able to attend the chamber and assume office. On Friday, the attorney overseeing the case sent a letter to the Supreme Court asking judge Pablo Llarena to accept neither Sànchez’s request for freedom, nor temporary permission to be sworn in as president—but Llarena will have the last say.

Risk of repeat offences

According to the prosecutor, there is still a risk of repeat offences. The authority believes that Sànchez’s role in the independence bid and the demonstrations on the run-up to the October 1 referendum is clear. Sànchez faces criminal charges of rebellion, which carry up to 30 years prison sentences.

After Carles Puigdemont temporarily abandoned his bid to reclaim the presidency from Brussels, where he is seeking refuge from the Spanish justice, he designated Sànchez as his successor. Yet, just as Puigdemont’s election was blocked by the Constitutional Court, Sànchez’s investiture will also depend on the Spain’s judicial system.

CUP's decision

The two main pro-independence parties in Catalonia, Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) and Esquerra Republicana, agreed to use their parliamentary majority to appoint Sànchez as head of government. The far-left CUP, also supporting secession, has yet to announce whether it will back Sànchez or not.

There are currently 28 people under investigation for their role in Catalonia’s push for independence. In total, 12 people have been held behind bars at some point over the past months. Apart from Sànchez, three other Catalan leaders remain incarcerated in Madrid prisons as of today.

Although some pro-independence politicians say they are confident that Sànchez’s election will become a reality, the prospects are bleak: Spain’s Supreme Court has already dismissed petitions by some jailed leaders to attend parliamentary sessions.

National court investigates Catalan police

As people await the Supreme Court’s decision, a different tribunal, the National Court, continues to interview people as part of the ongoing investigation on the independence referendum and the role played by Catalonia’s own police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra.

Cèsar Puig, the number two of the imprisoned home affairs minister, Joaquim Forn, appeared in court. Although the prosecutor asked for a 100,000 euros bail, judge Carmen Lamela decided to impose more lenient measures: his passport has been seized and he will have to appear in court every week. The former police director Pere Soler was also interviewed by Lamela.

Soler and Puig are under investigation for their role in the independence referendum and the alleged unwillingness by Catalan police chiefs to stop it. They face charges of sedition, which carry up prison sentences of to 15 years. The former Catalan police chief, Josep Lluís Trapero, is also being investigated.

 

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  • Jailed leader Jordi Sànchez (by Bernat Vilaró)

  • Jailed leader Jordi Sànchez (by Bernat Vilaró)