Two pro-independence MPs indicted for referendum roles

Josep Maria Jové and Lluís Salvadó are accused of disobedience, misuse of funds, breach of duty, and revelation of secrets

Josep Maria Jové and Lluís Salvadó stand with some colleagues now jailed for their roles in the 2017 independence push (by Pol Solà)
Josep Maria Jové and Lluís Salvadó stand with some colleagues now jailed for their roles in the 2017 independence push (by Pol Solà) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 28, 2020 11:13 AM

The High Court of Justice of Catalonia has closed an investigation and has handed down an indictment against Members of the Parliament Josep Maria Jové and Lluís Salvadó.

The two ERC MPs have been indicted for crimes of disobedience, breach of official duty, misuse of funds, and disclosure of secrets.

The alleged acts center around their participation in the organization of the 2017 independence referendum that was deemed illegal by Spanish authorities.

At the time of the vote, Jové held the post of secretary general of the economy, and Salvadó was the secretary of the treasury. 

In addition, the court imposes a bond of €2,889,000 in the case of Jové, and €1,635,000 in respect of Salvadó. Both are called to testify on March 11.

The court ruling means that the two politicians will almost certainly face trial for their alleged actions, although this is not yet certain as they can still appeal.

Other trials over independence push

In October 2019, nine other pro-independence leaders were sentenced to jail terms ranging from 9-13 years for their parts in the push for a Catalan republic.

Following the declaration of independence in the autumn of 2017, some of the political leaders involved in organizing the referendum went into exile to avoid prosecution, including the then-president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont.

Puigdemont, as well as Toni Comín, Clara Ponsatí, and Lluís Puig, are now facing extradition requests from the Spanish judiciary. The former president and Comín have their European arrest warrants suspended since they are MEPs, with them and Ponsatí, also MEP, waiting for the EU parliament to decide on whether to lift their immunity. 

The chief of Catalan police at the time of the 2017 referendum, Josep Lluís Trapero, is currently being tried for his management of his forces on the day of the vote. Trapero denies cooperating with the push for independence, and in the same trial, various other police officials are also being tried.

Former members of the Catalan parliament bureau are also being indicted for disobedience. The pro-independence leaders tried in Spain’s Supreme Court repeatedly requested their case be moved to the Catalan high court, claiming that it’s the most qualified to handle their case. The Supreme Court admitted the request, but only for six of them: five former members of the parliament bureau and former MP from the far-left CUP party, Mireia Boya. 

As the former chamber speaker and head of the parliament bureau, Forcadell criticized the Supreme Court for not transferring her case along with her colleagues.

All six defendants are charged with the offense of disobedience for allowing laws enabling independence to be voted on and approved by Catalan lawmakers. Boya, along with Anna Gabriel who avoided prosecution by moving to Switzerland, is being charged for registering the initial proposal.

In another case, thirty people including government officials, businesspeople, media figures, and public servants are being indicted for their actions. They are accused of misuse of public funds, disobedience, deceit, revealing secrets and breach of duty.