Jailed pro-independence leader suspended as senator
Pre-trial imprisonment of Raül Romeva provides legal ground for suspension a month after being elected
The Spanish Senate Bureau has approved the suspension Raül Romeva, a former Catalan minister who was jailed for his role in the Catalan independence bid and who was elected senator in April’s general election.
Senate lawyers issued a non-binding report on Wednesday arguing that the Bureau — the Spanish Parliament’s upper house’s ruling body — has the authority to depose Romeva as he is in prison awaiting the Catalan independence trial’s verdict.
The legal team based its decision on the same article used by lawyers in the Spanish Congress last week to suspend the four pro-independence MPs, including former vice president Oriol Junqueras, who are also in preventive detention.
The bureau is controlled by the Socialists, with Senate speaker Manuel Cruz at the helm. The decision was also backed by the People’s Party, while the Basque Nationalist Party (PNB) voted against the suspension.
Romeva has been in preventive detention for more than a year along with eight other pro-independence leaders. In the Catalan trial, which is due to end in less than a month, he has defended himself against charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds.