Forcadell: "I am being tried for who I am, not for my actions"

The former Speaker of the Catalan Parliament criticised attempts to incriminate her with false testimony

"They say that I’m being tried as the Speaker of of the House. But I behaved in exactly the same manner as the other members of the Parliamentary Bureau. Which is why I claim that I stand trial because of my political track record, for who I am and not for my deeds or actions". Forcadell used her closing statement before the Supreme Court to criticise the attempt to incriminate her as part of the alleged rebellion attributing to her "powers which I did not have" in the Catalan parliament, "with zero evidence and with false testimonies".

The Public Prosecutor's Office has accused the former Speaker of the Catalan Parliament of rebellion, for which it seeks a 17-year sentence, while Spain’s Solicitor General has asked for a 10-year sentence for a count of sedition. Forcadell also faces charges of disobedience, the only crime which her fellow pro-independence members of the Parliamentary Bureau have been charged with. Forcadell took great pains to point out the contradiction between the charges she faces in comparison to Anna Simó, Lluís Corominas, Ramona Barrufet and Joan Josep Nuet: "As has been demonstrated by documentary and testimonial evidence, I behaved in exactly the same manner as the other members of the Parliamentary Bureau".

Forcadell has been on remand since 23 March 2018 —plus the night of 2 November 2017. "After having spent 447 days unjustly behind bars and after a trial lasting four months, in which we have seen evidence and heard testimonies, I find it totally inconceivable that I am being accused of rebellion", Forcadell declared.

"During the trial, an extraordinary amount of effort has been made to make my name stand out, to distinguish me from the rest of the Bureau, to incriminate me with false testimonies despite the complete lack of evidence", she added. Forcadell went on to say that "In its summing up, the Prosecutor said that I was the president of the ANC from 2011, when in fact I started in April 2012; he claimed I sent a tweet aimed at the Catalan police which they were unable to quote or find because it does not exist; he claimed that I called on the people to take over the polling stations when it is totally false because I did not make any such appeals; and even Lieutenant Baena [of the Guardia Civil] claimed I was present at a meeting but later admitted he was mistaken. What a coincidence that the only slip he made involved me".

The Bureau must not censor Parliament

Forcadell ended her closing statement by speaking about her work as Speaker. "I have worked in support of the freedom of speech", she declared, while dismissing accusations that she had violated the rights of the Chamber’s minority groups. "We must not turn the Parliamentary Bureau into a censor, which decides what we can and cannot discuss. Parliament must never be subject to censorship", she declared, while also rejecting the charges of disobedience which she faces.

Forcadell appealed to her parliamentary immunity, which allows MPs "to speak and act freely", calling it "the basis that supports separation of powers". Now, having retired from politics, she hopes to be released on bail while awaiting the court’s verdict.

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