Politics 02/12/2021

Prosecutor's Office seeks 20-month disqualification for former Speaker

Torrent accused of disobeying Constitutional Court by allowing debate and vote on the monarchy and self-determination

2 min
Roger Torrent entering to testify at the TSJC last September 15

BarcelonaThe Prosecutor's Office is taking former Speaker Roger Torrent to court alongside Parliamentary Bureau members Eugeni Campdepadrós, Josep Costa and Adriana Delgado. They stand accused of having disobeyed the Constitutional Court and having allowed the debate and the vote in the chamber of several resolutions on the monarchy and self-determination despite the warnings from the high court. The Public Prosecutor's Office has already filed its indictment, which calls for a 20-month bar from public office for Torrent, Costa and Campdepadrós, as well as a fine. Delgado will face a slightly lower 16-mont disqualification.

In its indictment, the Prosecutor's Office considers that Torrent, Campdepadrós, Costa and Delgado were "fully aware" of the various warnings that the Constitutional Court had made about their "obligation to prevent or paralyse" any initiative that had to do with the independence of Catalonia, as well as the High Court sentence on the monarchy. Nevertheless, the three allowed the debate and the vote in the chamber of several resolutions that reprobated the monarchy, defended the right to self-determination and rejected the sentencing of the leaders of the Independence bid. The prosecutor accuses them of having agreed "previously" to allow the initiatives with the "will to violate" the "unequivocal" mandate of the Constitutional Court.

On September 15, Torrent, Campdepadrós and Delgado testified before Catalonia's High Court. The former Speaker defended MPs' freedom of expression to be able to debate on any topic and claimed that the Constitutional Court's warning was ambiguous. "We have told them that if this ends in condemnation it will be a disastrous precedent from a democratic point of view," Torrent said after appearing in court. Campdepadrós also added that the resolution against the sentence only had declarative value. However, Costa did not show up to testify and after a few days the magistrate ordered the Mossos d'Esquadra to arrest him and take him to the court. After being released with charges, he decided to to sue the institution for "illegal detention""

His explanations have not convinced the prosecution, which maintains accusations of grave disobedience against Torrent, Campdepadrós, Costa and Delgado. In the case of Delgado, the fine would also be lower. In its brief, the Prosecutor's Office asks that unionist Bureau members be summoned to testify in the trial, as well as Parliament's senior counsel, Xavier Muro. In fact, the Public Prosecutor's Office considers that Parliament's lawyers warned the four accused of the risk the resolutions entailed, which they disregarded.

Former Catalan minister Jordi Turull, imprisoned over the Independence bid, was one of the first to react and criticised the Prosecutor's Office, claiming judges were overriding election results and "scrapping the basic pillars of democratic parliamentarism".