Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena has decided to send Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Raül Romeva, Carme Forcadell and Dolors Bassa into pretrial detention without bail.
Both the public prosecutors and the acusación popular1, right-wing party VOX, asked for the measure. Whilst the public prosecution yesterday seemed to be uncertain whether to ask for prison or not, evaluating the flight risk, Marta Rovira’s decision today to go into exile instead of going to court herself seems to have pushed their decision. Forcadell and Bassa resigning as deputies yesterday hasn’t helped them.
Jordi Turull is currently candidate for president of Catalonia; Rull is minister of territory and sustainability; Romeva, minister of foreign affairs; Bassa, minister of work and social affairs and Carme Forcadell was speaker of the Catalan Parliament during the last legislature.
As such, all of those facing charges for rebellion for their roles before and after last year’s independence referendum are in prison or, in the cases of Rovira, Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí, in exile. Some of them are also facing charges of misuse of public funds. This fact, along with them having stood for election and having accepted the role as deputies (unlike some of their former fellow ministers) is used to argue there is a risk of them reoffending. This argument has been used so far to refuse release on bail to Oriol Junqueras, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart.
All five have already spent a month in prison, except Carme Forcadell who was only held overnight before posting bail. The first four were sent into custody by National Audience judge Carmen Lamela on 2nd November. The male ministers went to Estremera prison, the females to Alcalà-Meco, both near Madrid. In December, on the first day of the election campaign, Pablo Llarena let six of the ministers leave, keeping Junqueras and Forn back.
Forcadell, meanwhile, was still speaker when she went to the Supreme Court to testify whilst under investigation. The public prosecutor asked for bail, granted by the judge, of 150,000€ (£133,000, $175,000), the highest set for anyone in the case. As she had to pay immediately, and the order was issued so late in the evening, she had no chance to pay that day and spent the night in prison.