Catalonia’s former parliament vice president Josep Costa was arrested on Wednesday morning after failing to attend his disobedience case hearing on September 15. The pro-independence former Junts MP rejected to give statements in the Catalan high court over the charges he faces for allowing parliamentary votes on self-determination and against the monarchy in November 2019.

On September 15, Costa said that he did not recognize that the court could have any power to decide on parliamentary acts. “I am not going to engage in some negotiation table with judges and repressing prosecutors which do not understand the separation of powers,” he said, also implicitly criticizing the talks underway between the Catalan and Spanish governments.

The procedure may carry a disqualification from public office – but not prison – and involves three other chamber bureau members of the past term, including former speaker Roger Torrent, currently business minister, who did attend the summoning in September. Costa will be forced to face the cross-examination by the high court on Wednesday at 2.30 pm.

The current parliament speaker, Laura Borràs, denounced the arrest and said she was not allowed to access the court to see Costa. “Today is October 27, the former parliament vice president has been arrested. Spain does not forget,” she said referring to the fourth anniversary of the declaration of independence, on October 27, 2017.

Disobedience case

Costa and Torrent, as well as Adriana Delgado and Eusebi Campdepadrós, are accused of contravening Spain’s Constitutional Court and authorizing votes in parliament that were deemed unlawful.

The motions were passed on 12 November 2019, with subsequent amendments on 26 November. They were backed by pro-independence parties, holding a majority of seats in the chamber.

One of the texts stressed that parliament “reiterates and will reiterate as many times as MPs choose the disapproval of the monarchy, the defense of self-determination and the affirmation of the sovereignty of the people of Catalonia to decide their political future.”

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