Catalan Speaker to spend night in jail

Catalan Speaker to spend night in jail

Catalan Parliament Speaker Carme Forcadell has been taken to a prison here after failing to post the bail set by the Spanish Supreme Court in a sedition case involving the region’s secession bid.

Forcadell was transported to Alcala-Meco detention facility with a women’s section on Thursday night, Efe news reported.

Judge Pablo Llarena set Forcadell’s bail at $175,000.

The Catalan National Assembly has announced that it will tap its “solidarity fund” to cover Forcadell’s bond, as well as the bail of 25,000 euros each for four other Catalan lawmakers who appeared before Llarena along with the Speaker.

Under the bail conditions, Forcadell will have to surrender her passport and regularly report in person to judicial authorities.

A sixth legislator was released without charge after demonstrating to the judge’s satisfaction that he did not vote in favour of the October 27 Unilateral Declaration of Independence.

In the course of the hearing, Forcadell agreed to comply with the central government’s application of Article 155 of Spain’s Constitution, effectively suspending Catalonia’s autonomy.

She also described the Catalan declaration of independence as “purely symbolic”.

“Avoiding a parliamentary debate would have been a breach of the legality applicable to the Speaker’s office within international law and relevant to the principles of a democratic state,” Forcadell said in court.

She also said that as speaker, she could not control the “background” of parliamentary initiatives or prevent votes from happening.

The judge, however, found Forcadell’s testimony unconvincing, writing in his order that she played a principal and “essential” part in the referendum and declaration of independence, suggesting that her vows to abide by Article 155 might be “dishonest.”

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