The trial on the Catalan parliament bureau members during the times of the 2017 independence referendum began on Tuesday in Catalonia’s high court (TSJC). Former MPs Lluís Corominas, Ramona Barrufet, Lluís Guinó and Anna Simó face a requested conviction of 20 months of disqualification of public office – but not jail – and a 30,000 euro fine from the public prosecutor, along with the former far-left CUP MP, Mireia Boya, who is also accused in the procedure.
While the solicitor general requests the same conviction for all of them – but for a slightly lower fine for Boya, 24,000 euros –, far-right Vox party, which is the private prosecutor in the trial, requests a 12-year prison for each of them, a 2-year disqualification and a 3.2 million euro fine for each of them, on criminal organization and disobedience charges.
Corominas, Barrufet, Guinó and Simó are in the dock for having accepted for discussion and vote several motions and bills related with the independence push. While Barrufet and Simó were members of the parliament bureau for the whole 2015-2017 term, Corominas was replaced by Guinó in July 2017.
Exiled Anna Gabriel
Meanwhile, Boya also faces the court for her contribution in the independence push that peaked in the October 1, 2017 referendum without Spain’s permission and the declaration of independence in Parliament four weeks later – the also former MP Anna Gabriel is also part of the case, but she went into exile in Switzerland to avoid being judged.
The public prosecutor accuses the four former bureau members of being “aware” of not complying with their duty of not accepting certain parliamentary initiatives after several warnings of Spain’s Constitutional Court.
The parliamentary procedures accepted ahead of the 2017 declaration of independence include a motion to begin a “constituent process” on November 9, 2015, the 2017 budget bill with spending for the referendum foreseen, and the referendum bill, passed between September 6 and 7, 2017.
More serious conviction for parliament speaker
The four former MPs are not being requested a prison sentence by the public prosecutor, who did ask for a 17-year behind bars on rebellion charges for the former parliament speaker, Carme Forcadell, the leader of that chamber bureau.
Forcadell had similar power as her former colleagues, but was in the end sentenced to 11.5 years on sedition charges – her defense claimed that the requested conviction for her was not coherent with that of Corominas, Guinó, Simó and Barrufet.
The trial had been postponed three times, and the also parliament bureau member in 2017, Joan Josep Nuet, was part of the cause. Yet, since he was elected MP in Congress last year, his trial will take place at the Supreme Court.
Apart from Nuet’s trial, other judicial cases related to the independence push are open: the main case, implying the jailed leading politicians and activists in jail, has been taken to the Constitutional Court, a branch of the case involving those who went into exile and some of whom are pending an extradition request, and a procedure on the referendum logistics involving some 30 officials and businesspeople. Also, several cases are open against mayors and former mayors who allowed the referendum in their town. The former Catalan police leadership, including Josep Lluís Trapero, is now waiting for the sentence.