More jailed leaders in court amid change of strategy
Ministers Bassa and Turull, and former Parliament president Forcadell face judge after other imprisoned politicians criticized Spain’s judiciary
Three jailed pro-independence leaders attended the Supreme Court for a hearing this Wednesday amid a change of strategy of the imprisoned ministers. On Monday and Tuesday, six deposed leaders faced the judge and criticized the judicial case and the whole Spanish judiciary. It was the first time they made such remarks before the judge. In previous statements, most of them said that they were against a unilateral process of independence and that they respected the current legal framework.
On Wednesday morning ministers Dolors Bassa and Jordi Turull testified before the Spanish Supreme Court after spending almost a month in prison. They were also behind bars for 32 days last autumn. In his hearing, Turull told the judge to do "justice and not politics." "I have no doubts that I am a political prisoner," he added. Bassa told the judge that her prosecution is "unfair" and stressed that she has already given up her position as MP.
The former Catalan parliament president, Carme Forcadell, was also in the Madrid court after being jailed on March 23. Before then, she had only spent one night in a correctional facility last November.
On Monday, the jailed deposed Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras told the judge that calling a referendum is no crime. He also defended Catalonia’s right to self-determination – as jailed grassroots leader Jordi Cuixart also did – and condemned the “intolerable” hardline tactics used by Spanish riot police to prevent the October 1 referendum from taking place. Junqueras, like the foreign minister Raül Romeva, emphasized that their political activities have always been pacifist. Romeva also claimed that lawmakers were allowed to discuss anything in the Catalan chamber because they had “parliamentary immunity.”
Some ministers went even one step further and harshly criticized the judicial case and the magistrate before them. MP Jordi Sànchez accused the judge of not being “impartial” and urged him to respect his political rights. Spain’s Supreme Court has twice rejected his bid to be voted in as Catalan president. In his hearing, deposed minister Josep Rull said that the judicial case against him is “political” and questioned Spain’s separation of powers. According to him, the Spanish justice minister and other officials have “anticipated” some judicial rulings. Rull also accused the judge of following the Spanish government’s “roadmap.” Deposed home affairs minister Joaquim Forn asked the judge for his immediate release.