On Wednesday Spain’s Supreme Court dismissed a fresh appeal lodged by the Catalan political prisoners, who had requested to be released while awaiting the court’s verdict. ACN [Catalan News Agency] reports that the judges believe the circumstances have not changed since they last denied an earlier appeal, and that their judgement at the time was supported by “sufficient grounds”.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court claims that the independence leaders still pose a flight risk and might reoffend. The court stresses that “this decision should not be seen as an indication of the verdict that will eventually be reached”. The appeal had initially been filed by Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Cuixart, Josep Rull, Jordi Turull and Dolors Bassa. They were later joined by Joaquim Forn.
The court’s judgement includes a special mention about Josep Rull, Catalonia’s former minister for Sustainability and Territory. The court emphasises that Rull has already been granted leave, as this week he was given permission to spend time with his young son, who is due to undergo surgery next month. In Rull’s case, “this court recognises that the circumstances are exceptional” and the judges indicate that they can’t be “insensitive to the emotional impact” that the child’s surgical operation might have on Josep Rull.
The UN Working Group
The Supreme Court’s judgement also refers to the opinion recently issued by the UN Group on Arbitrary Detention, although it merely stresses a point it had made earlier on. The Supreme Court emphasises that “the inability of the executive branch to issue orders, demands or instructions to a court of justice is one of the pillars of the rule of law”.
Forn to miss Barcelona Metropolitan Council
Additionally, the Supreme Court has decided not to allow Barcelona City councillor Joaquim Forn —a former cabinet minister— to take his seat as a representative to the Barcelona Metropolitan Council. The court has turned down Forn’s request arguing that there are “no extraordinary circumstances” [that would justify it] and that “it is an equitable decision” now that the trial of the Catalan independence leaders is over. Therefore, Forn won’t be able to take office on Thursday this week (25 July).
Joaquim Forn was also denied permission to leave the Sant Esteve Sesrovires facility briefly in order to attend the City’s plenary meeting where the new local government’s structure was put to a vote. Like now, the court also stated that the judgement was “equitable”. In contrast, Forn was given permission to collect his credential as City councillor and take office [only a few weeks ago].