• 10:30
  • 04.06.2020
Spanish judge jails Catalonia's Speaker

Spanish judge jails Catalonia's Speaker

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A Spanish judge has jailed Catalonia's top lawmaker in a rebellion probe stemming from an independence declaration, but set Carme Forcadell's bail at 150,000 euros ($A227,364) and ordered her passport to be confiscated.
Forcadell is Speaker of the regional parliament where separatist lawmakers passed a declaration to proclaim a new Catalan republic on October 27, disregarding Constitutional Court warnings that such a move was illegal.
The vote was boycotted by most opposition lawmakers.
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The Spanish government immediately seized control of the wealthy northeastern region, the first time in the four decades since General Francisco Franco's dictatorship ended that Madrid removed powers from any of the country's 17 regions.
Central authorities also dismissed the Catalonia's regional president and his government, who are now also jailed on preliminary rebellion charges or fighting extradition to Spain from Belgium. Spain also dissolved the parliament and called a new regional election for December 21.
Prosecutors are pursuing charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement that are punishable by up to 30 years of imprisonment under Spanish law.
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Spain Supreme Court magistrate Pablo Llarena questioned Forcadell and five other members of the Catalan parliament's governing body on Thursday for more than 10 hours before deciding whether to jail them.
The judge set a 25,000 euro bail to be paid in one week for four of the lawmakers, and released from custody another who had made the October 27 independence vote possible by allowing a debate on secession but opposed the declaration of a separate republic.
While appearing in court for questioning, Forcadell sought to avoid detention by describing the independence declaration as "symbolic", according to lawyers familiar with her testimony.
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Catalonia's deposed regional president, Carles Puigdemont, and four of his former Cabinet members fled to Brussels, where they are fighting Spanish arrest and extradition orders.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Thursday that his government's policy on Catalonia has "100 per cent backing" from other EU countries.
Rajoy said he hoped voters "meet their obligations as Spaniards and Europeans" in next month's regional election. Rajoy, who thinks a majority of Catalans don't want to break away from Spain, urged a large turnout.
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