Catalonia was sent into a state of shock on Friday when Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena ruled that Catalan MPs Jordi Turull, Carme Forcadell, Josep Rull, Raül Romeva and Dolors Bassa had to return to prison, where other pro-independence figures Oriol Junqueras, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart have been for months. In total, six members of the Catalan government, the speaker of Parliament from the previous legislature and the former leaders of civil groups the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural. In addition, European arrest and extradition warrants have been activated for the members of the Catalan government in exile: president Puigdemont and ministers Toni Comín, Clara Ponsatí, Meritxell Serret and Lluís Puig. And an international arrest warrant has been issued for the secretary general of the Catalan Republican Left, Marta Rovira, who since Friday has been in Switzerland, a journey she made to avoid being put into prison.
Pablo Llarena has hastily closed the investigative phase of the case and has moved strongly so that as soon as possible the six pro-independence leaders currently abroad can be put in prison and added to the nine who are already in the jails of Estremera, Soto del Real and Alcalá Meco. No one can ignore the fact that the decision of the Supreme Court judge is not only unjust and completely disproportionate, but also enormously serious. The presentation of the facts which the judge has made in the decision on laying formal charges neither justifies the charges of rebellion - when and how did the uprising occur that is necessary to justify this serious accusation? - nor does it explain the charge of misuse of public funds. The same thing can be said about the charge of sedition, since the only signs that can be seen are of the offence of disobedience.
But it is obvious that if all of this can be easily confirmed by a person like myself who lacks knowledge of the law, a judge with Llarena's knowledge or the Public Prosecutor's Office itself must see this very clearly indeed. However, the general case which has been presented against the independence movement needs very few facts and a lot of creative writing. As it also needs a high level of political and media consensus. The first, to applaud the measures adopted, and the second, to uncritically explain the facts even if they are false.
I said at the beginning that Catalonia is a country in a state of shock. It is so in its entirety, or at least across a very, very, broad part. Not just one party or a few parties. It is oscillating between depression and indignation. Between rage and desolation. Between defending the institutions and defending the streets. Between the most aroused pro-independence spirit and the most pragmatic mood. A country that is crying more than smiling. But also a country - and no one should be confused about this, despite the errors that the political majority have made - that will not let its dignity be snatched away even though the highest spheres of the state have decided to strike a blow against democracy. The improvised protests in the four corners of Catalonia are an expression of this. Finding a way out of the labyrinth based on dialogue was the proposal of Jordi Turull, candidate for the presidency of Catalonia on Thursday afternoon, presented with all solemnity from the rostrum of Parliament. The response on this occasion took less than 24 hours.
This has happened so fast and in such an overwhelmingly cruel way that setting a new course for the journey ahead will not be easy, even if, in an absolutely exceptional situation, even the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations has required the Spanish state to take measures to ensure that Jordi Sànchez can exercise his political rights without restrictions. This came up a few weeks ago when Sànchez was nominated for the presidency of Catalonia and his candidacy went off course after Llarena prevented him from leaving Estremera prison. Problems? Spain has six months to present a case to the High Commissioner of the UN. A period of time which is too costly in the current situation of the dispute.