Bail Set for Catalan Parliament Speaker

Bail Set for Catalan Parliament SpeakerBail Set for Catalan Parliament Speaker

Six members of Catalonia's parliament, including speaker Carme Forcadell, were granted bail Thursday after testifying before Spain's Supreme Court on charges of rebellion, sedition and misappropriation of public funds.

Following the hearing, Supreme Court magistrate Pablo Llarena ordered that Forcadell be held in custody until she had paid bail, which was set at €150,000 ($175,000). The Madrid judge also ordered that her passport be confiscated. Four other lawmakers were to be held until making bail payments of €25,000 bail. A sixth parliamentarian was freed without bail, DW reported. Forcadell's attorney, Andreu Van den Eynde, said he plans to appeal the Supreme Court's decision, saying he didn't understand why her release terms were harsher than those of her co-defendants. Van den Eynde said the judge's decision had come too late on Thursday for Forcadell that day, adding that she would remain in custody until at least Friday.

Prosecutors had asked Llarena to jail Forcadell and three other lawmakers without bail. However, in his ruling, the judge wrote: "All the accused ... have expressed that either they renounce future political activity or, those that remain active, will do it renouncing any actions outside the constitutional framework."

Nevertheless, the range of charges raised by the prosecution could carry a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

Following Catalonia's independence referendum on October 1, which saw voters overwhelming support secession from Spain, the Catalan parliament passed a declaration on October 27 proclaiming a new Catalan republic.  The vote, however, suffered from turnout of 43% and had been declared "illegal" by the Spanish Constitutional Court before any votes were cast.

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