Eight former Catalan ministers who were recently sacked by the Spanish government have received prison sentences by a high court judge. Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four other dismissed Catalan ministers who have been residing in Brussels since monday had also been summoned but didn’t show up in the Spanish high court – known as the Audiencia Nacional. Ousted government officials have been accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.
Those affected by the judge’s decision are former Vice President Oriol Junqueras and former ministers Jordi Turull, Raúl Romeva, Josep Rull, Dolors Bassa, Meritxell Borrás, Joaquim Forn y Carles Mundó, who could be looking at prison sentences of up to 48 years. A ninth official, ex-Business Minister Santi Vila, was granted bail at the request of prosecutors due to his resignation from the Catalan government before the regional parliament voted for independence last Friday.
In a statement broadcasted on Catalan television, Puigdemont described the detention of the former officials as an “act that breaks with the basic principles of democracy”. He also demanded the “release of the ministers and the vice-president”. Catalan political parties and civic groups condemned the judicial move, while thousands of people gathered outside the Catalan regional parliament in Barcelona, demanding that they be freed.