Politics 01/03/2021

The Prosecutor's Office appeals to Supreme Court to try to suspend Bassa and Forcadell's open prison regime

Supreme Court asks Court of Auditors whether political prisoners and exiles have paid the €4.1m claimed over 2017 Referendum

2 min
Forcadell, Bassa and Romeva heading to the Supreme Court
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The prosecution has filed an appeal to the Spanish Supreme Court against the precautionary maintenance of an open prison regime for Dolors Bassa and Carme Forcadell. It thus appeals to the court that originally ruled on the matter the decision by the Court of penitentiary surveillance number 1, which rejected the precautionary measures demanded by the Public Prosecutor's Office while it studies the merits of the appeal. The Prosecutor's Office stresses that the organic law of the judiciary establishes the suspensive nature of the appeal in matters of classification when it comes to those convicted of serious crimes who can be subsequently released from prison.

In the prosecution's view, an expansive interpretation of the law is needed to apply the rules on appeal. In its appeal to the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor's Office argues that this case has shown the need for an interpretation of the rule that allows the suspensive effect in the case of appeals, and recalled that the Court of penitentiary surveillance number 5 did suspend Lledoners' political prisoners open prison regime as a precautionary measure in summer, but that court number 1 has not done so with Balsa and Forcadell.

The judge refused to suspend the prisoners' transfer to an open prison regime despite the prosecution's request, which considers that magistrates are legally obliged to suspend open prison regimes in case of appeal. According to the judge's letter, the appeal of the Prosecutor's Office would only have suspensive character in the event that there was already a judicial resolution and, therefore, an appeal was filed.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court has agreed this Monday to ask the Court of Auditors for a report on the procedures of accounting responsibility against political prisoners and pro-independence exiles for the expenses of the 2017 Independece referendum. Specifically, it wants to know if they have deposited the €4.1m the Court of Auditors claims from them on January 28, 2020. This was done at the request of the State Attorney's Office, which has asked for access to this information before presenting its report to the Supreme Court on the request for pardons for political prisoners.

The request for this report lengthens the process for the granting - or not - of pardons. The Supreme Court cannot issue its own report without first having the criteria of all parties. The Public Prosecutor's Office has already ruled against it, and the whole process is awaiting the document presented by the State Attorney's Office. The report of the Supreme Court is mandatory, but not binding, and when the whole process is finished, it will be the Council of Ministers who will adopt the decision it deems most appropriate.

Specifically, Chamber II of the Supreme Court has asked the Prosecution Section of the Court of Auditors to send it the preliminary proceedings and other procedures for the demand of accounting responsibility that it has in process on the occasion of the Referendum. It wants to see the minutes of provisional settlements, and in particular that of January 28, 2020 to prove whether they have made the payment of €4.1m that was claimed on January 28, 2020.

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