Forcadell joins challenge against all five judges slated to try independence case

She argues that they cannot guarantee a “fair” trial because they were involved in the pre-trial examination process

The former Speaker of the House, Carme Forcadell, has joined the other defendants in their challenge against the five Spanish judges who have been assigned the case against the Catalan leaders [who declared independence in October last year] because she believes they cannot guarantee a “fair” trial. Forcadell has files a motion requesting that judges Manuel Marchena Gómez, Andrés Martínez Arrieta, Juan Ramón Berdugo, Luciano Varela Castro and Antonio del Moral García be taken off the case.

Forcadell’s legal team claim that, since these magistrates were involved in the case’s examination process ahead of the trial, the former Speaker’s right to a fair trial is being infringed upon. Forcadell has thus joined Oriol Junqueras and Raül Romeva, who filed the same motion with the Supreme Court last week. Defendants Jordi Turull, Josep Rull and Jordi Sànchez were the first to make that same request.

For her part, Forcadell notes that she is entitled to an “impartial court of law” and to “due process on a level playing field and with every legal guarantee”. As the legal counsel for the other political prisoners had done earlier, Forcadell’s legal team have argued that the judges who are slated to see her case in court were involved in the pre-trial examination process which, according to the motion, casts doubt over their “impartiality” during the trial.

Furthermore, her lawyer claims that some of the presiding judges were on the panel that saw the case against former Catalan minister Francesc Homs, who was indicted for helping to hold a non-binding independence referendum in 2014. Homs was found guilty of major disobedience.

Following in the footsteps of Jordi Pina —the lawyer who represents Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull and Josep Rull— and Andreu Van den Eynde —counsel for former Catalan ministers Junqueras and Romeva—, Forcadell’s lawyer —Olga Arderiu— states that four of the judges happened to serve on the bench when a complaint was lodged over the same events by former Public Prosecutor José Manuel Maza on October 31. Therefore, she concludes, there is “an obvious connection” between the examining magistrate and the court that will try the political prisoners. This —according to Arderiu— might “interfere” with the case at hand.

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