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Catalonia: Ex-parliament speaker spends night in jail for involvement in independence drive

A judge at Spain’s Supreme Court has ordered Carme Forcadell to be detained on charges of “rebellion”.

Carme Forcadell
Carme Forcadell
Image: Francisco Seco via PA Images

THE SPEAKER OF Catalonia’s dismissed parliament spent the night in jail over her role in the region’s independence drive, a judicial source has said, as supporters raised €150,000 bail for her release.

A judge at Spain’s Supreme Court had yesterday ordered Carme Forcadell to be detained on charges of “rebellion” – which carries a maximum jail term of 30 years – until she paid the amount.

A source said Forcadell arrived at the Alcala Meco jail near Madrid after midnight (11pm Irish time).

Her lawyer said he was confident his client “could be freed” today after the bond is paid.

The influential pro-independence lobby group ANC said it would come up with the cash, calling on members to contribute in solidarity with Forcadell and other former Catalan officials.

But by 10pm Irish time, the court had not yet received any bail payment, a spokeswoman said.

Catalonia’s parliament voted last month to declare independence from Spain following a banned referendum on the issue.

Court appearances

Separatists say the disputed 1 October referendum saw 90% back secession, although others say pro-unity Catalans largely boycotted the vote.

In response, Madrid fired Catalonia’s government and parliament, suspended the region’s autonomy and called new elections there next month.

Forcadell appeared at the Supreme Court in Madrid on Thursday along with five former Catalan lawmakers.

She left the court in a police van, but the others were given a temporary reprieve by the judge, who said they must pay €20,000 each within a week or be detained.

“Thank you very much to all of you for your support, warmth and esteem,” Forcadell said on Twitter.

Writing on Twitter, deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who is in self-imposed exile in Belgium, said Forcadell had “to sleep in jail for having allowed a democratic debate”.

A lifelong advocate of Catalan independence, Forcadell insists that as parliamentary speaker she didn’t “have the freedom to stop” the 27 October vote that saw lawmakers back a break from Madrid.

Eight members of Puigdemont’s former cabinet were detained last week on charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds for their role in the independence push.

 - © AFP 2017

Read: Catalan ex-leader freed by judge but told not to leave Belgium

More: Judge has 24 hours to decide fate of former Catalan leader and ministers

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