The former Catalan parliament speaker, Carme Forcadell, is the first of the prosecuted pro-independence leaders to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights. Her lawyer, Olga Arderiu, made the announcement during the lunch break on day seven of the trial of Catalan independence leaders, ahead of Forcadell’s testimony on Tuesday at 4pm.

The legal move aims to see her released after she has spent 11 months in custody. According to Forcadell’s defense, her incarceration is “disproportionate.” Arderiu said on Tuesday that they had appealed to the court in Strasbourg because they believe Forcadell’s detention breaches the rules and was “unnecessary” with “no real basis.”

Moreover, the lawyer said that Forcadell’s detention was a breach of her rights to expression, assembly and politics, “all protected by the [European] convention [of fundamental rights].” Predicting that the whole process could take about a year at best before the European court issued a resolution on the case, her lawyer described Forcadell’s situation as “an exceptional case in Europe.”

Political offenses

“It’s exceptional to try and detain people for political offenses in this way, but in particular in relation to Carme Forcadell. She was of course speaker of the parliament, and therefore what she did was simply her job -that is, enable parliament to actually vote on issues in accordance with the rules of procedure” said Arderiu.

The lawyer also referred to the need to exhaust legal channels in one’s own country before being able to appeal to the European court. “There have been two applications to the Constitutional Court seeking the release of Carme Forcadell pending her trial and both have been refused. so that should be satisfactory for the purposes of exhausting domestic remedies,” said Arderiu.