Jail for five Catalan leaders

Presidential candidate Jordi Turull, former parliament speaker Carme Forcadell and three deposed ministers sent to pre-trial prison facing up to 40 years behind bars

Presidential candidate Jordi Turull and his wife, before entering the Spanish Supreme Court (by ACN)
Presidential candidate Jordi Turull and his wife, before entering the Spanish Supreme Court (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Madrid

March 23, 2018 05:35 PM

Five pro-independence politicians have been sent to prison today, raising the number of jailed Catalan leaders to nine. Presidential candidate Jordi Turull, who presented his candidacy to lead a new government only yesterday in Parliament, the former Parliament Speaker Carme Forcadell, and three ministers of the sacked Catalan government –Raül Romeva, Josep Rull and Dolors Bassa-, are now in pre-trial prison. They all face up to 40 years behind bars and are formally indicted for the alleged crime of rebellion for organizing the October 1 referendum and promoting an independence declaration.

Dolors Bassa

Vice president Oriol Junqueras and Home Affairs minister Joaquim Forn, both sacked by the Spanish government, have been in jail since November 2, while two civil society leaders that organized pro-independence protests, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez, have been in prison since October 16.

Forcadell, Bassa, Romeva

The decision by the Spanish Supreme Court on Friday to send the five Catalan officials to prison came only hours after two of them, Bassa and Forcadell, stepped down as MPs. The secretary general of their party, Marta Rovira, also gave up her seat, but unlike them, she did not turn up to appear before the judge, and instead left the country and went into exile to "recover" her "political voice." With her decision, there are now seven Catalan politicians abroad, including Catalan president Carles Puigdemont.

Josep Rull

A Spanish government spokesman, Iñigo Méndez de Vigo, said that her decision "did not make things easier" for her colleagues. The prosecutor asked they be imprisoned on the grounds that they pose a flight risk as well as a risk of repeat offending.