Spanish court denies Catalan leaders’ release over ‘increased flight risk’
Prisoners to be transferred to Madrid ahead of independence trial
The Spanish court that will try Catalan pro-independence leaders has denied their latest petitions for freedom over an "increased flight risk."
The Supreme Court maintains that the "existence of organized power structures outside of Spain" would facilitate prisoners escaping to other countries—a reference to the Council for the Republic, a political organization led by exiled former president Carles Puigdemont from Waterloo, Belgium.
In total, there are nine pro-independence leaders in pre-trial jail, including government members and the parliament speaker at the time of the referendum and the declaration of independence, in October 2017.
The Supreme Court has denied all their petitions to end the pre-trial imprisonment, which has been widely criticized.
Pro-independence leaders face a proposed 177-year prison sentence altogether proposed by the public prosecutor, for charges like rebellion, misuse of funds, and disobedience.
Just like Puigdemont, six other pro-independence politicians indicted in the independence trial have left Spain to avoid entering prison.
Currently jailed in Catalan prisons, pro-independence leaders are due to be transferred to Madrid in the coming days to face trial at the Supreme Court.
Strasbourg ruling on Kurdish dissident rejected
The Supreme Court also rejected the jailed leaders’ petition to consider the similarities of their case with that of Selahattin Demirtaş, the former co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
The European Court of Human Rights recently called on Turkey to take "all necessary measures" to put an end to his pre-trial detention.
The Supreme Court maintains that Catalan leaders "are not persecuted for their ideas" and denies claims that the pro-independence movement is being criminalized.