Investigated Esquerra MPs give up post ahead of hearing

Party leader Marta Rovira, former speaker Carme Forcadell and deposed minister Dolors Bassa argue they want to "stand up to judicial blackmail"

Marta Rovira at the Catalan parliament on March 22 2018 (by Marc Rovira)
Marta Rovira at the Catalan parliament on March 22 2018 (by Marc Rovira) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 22, 2018 11:08 PM

Some pro-independence Esquerra party investigated senior MPs are stepping down ahead of their hearing on Friday in the Spanish Supreme Court. This includes the party leader in Parliament, Marta Rovira, the former parliament speaker, Carme Forcadell, and the deposed minister Dolors Bassa, who will give up their posts. They argue that this way, they will “stand up to judicial blackmail”. The judge summoned them to appear in court on Friday in order to reconsider their current judicial status. Pending a trial, all three are free on a bail after Forcadell and Bassa spent some time in prison. But the judge might send them back to prison.

The hearing, held in the Spanish Supreme Court regarding the pro-independence movement in Catalonia, involves 6 investigated individuals, including Rovira, Forcadell, and Bassa. Also investigated for the case and called to court on Friday are current MPs and deposed government ministers Raül Romeva, Josep Rull, and Jordi Turull. 

The very same day the three women stepped down as MPs, March 22, an investiture debate was held with the objective of swearing in Jordi Turull, should he be sent to pre-trial prison the following day. But, in the plenary, Turull failed to secure the votes to be sworn in. He is the third presidential candidate to be proposed, following Carles Puigdemont and Jordi Sanchez, both on the Junts per Catalunya ticket, and also both challenged by the Spanish government for the post. 

On Friday, the Supreme Court is also set to release the indictment on the case involving the 28 individuals investigated for events leading up to the declaration of independence in October 2017. That is, who will be prosecuted, and for what crimes.