Junqueras, Rull, Turull, Bassa, Romeva and Forn got special permit to testify in investigative committee
Six of the nine leaders in jail for their roles in the 2017 independence referendum set a foot in Parliament on Tuesday for the first time since they were ousted and put in precautionary detention in November 2017.
Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Dolors Bassa, Raül Romeva and Joaquim Forn were required to testify in a Catalan parliamentary committee on the enforcement of direct rulefrom Madrid.
The Catalan justice department allowed their attendance and all six were taken by the Catalan police to the parliament, where they were welcomed with applause and chants of “freedom” by party colleagues.
Amid huge media expectation and with strong police presence outside the chamber, they were welcomed by the Catalan president, Quim Torra, and the speaker, Roger Torrent.
Dialogue despite imprisonments
During his opening statement, former VP Oriol Junqueras said that “organising a referendum is not a crime because it isn’t in the penal code” and accused the Spanish “deep state” of confusing between justice and vengeance. “Vengeance doesn’t intimidate us, it doesn’t scare us. Prison is another step towards freedom”, he said.
In the line of his party ERC`s strategy, Junqueras said that despite his imprisonment, they won’t “give up on dialogue.” Concerning the application of direct rule, he expressed that it harmed the country’s social policies and economy, and it was “an excuse for the imprisonments.”
Former Government’s spokesman, Jordi Turull called for the “spirit of unity, loyalty, confidence and civility” to finalise the path towards a Catalan Republic from the pro-independence camp. Turull, currently serving a 12 year sentence, considered the suspension of self-rule in 2017 “a bypass to take over democracy”.