Spain’s Supreme Court Refuses Bail for Former Catalonia Cabinet Members

MADRID (Reuters) -
Former Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras. (Reuters/Albert Gea/File Photo)

Former Catalonian Vice President Oriol Junqueras, former Cabinet member Joaquim Forn and two leaders of civic groups ANC and Omnium Cultural, faced with charges of sedition, have been refused bail, Spain’s Supreme Court said on Monday.

Six other former members of the Catalonia Cabinet, detained in custody ahead of an investigation into their part in an illegal unilateral declaration of independence by the then-regional government on Oct. 27, were set bail of €100,000 ($118,570).

The Catalonian leaders’ organization of an independence vote on Oct. 1 and subsequent declaration of independence, both acts banned under Spain’s constitution, have tipped the country into its worst political crisis in more than four decades.

The central government sacked the previous government within hours of the declaration and called a regional election for Dec. 21.

The eight former members of the Cabinet were detained in custody on Nov. 2, facing potential charges of sedition, rebellion and misappropriation of funds. They have since called to be released to campaign for the election.

The former leader of the Catalonia government, Carles Puigdemont, and four of his disbanded Cabinet, are in self-imposed exile in Belgium under conditional release after an international arrest warrant was served against them.

On Monday, Spain’s Supreme Court refused bail for Junqueras, Forn and leaders of Catalan civic groups Asamblea Nacionál Catalana (ANC) and Omnium Cultural, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart.

In a court statement, the judge ruled that, while he considered there was no risk the defendants would leave the country, he did believe there was a risk of criminal reiteration.

Campaigning for the election, with Junqueras at the head of the list for his party ERC, begins on Tuesday and polls have shown that support for independence is running in a dead heat with support for continued unity with Spain.