Hearing for Catalan Parliament bureau postponed, police surveillance ordered
Supreme Court sets November 9 as new date after defense lawyers claim that they did not have enough time to prepare
The six Catalan Parliament bureau members due to declare on Thursday before the Spanish Supreme Court will have one more week to prepare their defenses. The president of the chamber, Carme Forcadell, and her colleagues will have to go back to Madrid next Thursday, November 9. The judge ordered police surveillance for all of them in the meantime on a request from the prosecution. All of the bureau members have been accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds, the same crimes as the dismissed Catalan ministers.
Defense lawyers denounced the speed at which the legal process is proceeding, criticizing the fact that the court summonses were given with extremely short notice, in some cases, less than 24 hours, calling it a violation of fundamental rights. Because of that, the judge has given them one more week to prepare. MPs and senators from several Catalan pro-referendum parties waited outside the court to support them as they went in and when they left after the postponement.
"When someone does not appear in court in Spain or any other country in the EU, an arrest warrant is normally issued"
Carlos Lesmes · President of the Spanish Supreme Court and the General Council of the Judiciary Power
The president of the Spanish Supreme Court and also the General Council of the Judiciary Power, Carlos Lesmes, said to the press that it is “absolutely normal” that the ministers were summoned on such short notice because the crimes they are being accused of are “serious”. The fact that the hearings at the National Court and the Supreme Court were scheduled for the same day “is the defense's problem not the court's”, said Lesmes, since some of the leaders under investigation share the same lawyer.
With regard to the deposed Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, who is in Brussels, Lesmes said “when someone does not appear in court in Spain or any other country in the EU, an arrest warrant is normally issued.” Puigdemont and four of his ministers are in Belgium and their lawyer has proposed that they give testimony from Brussels with a videoconference call.