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Today is one of those days when it's impossible to find moderate words to denounce the significance of the decision made by Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena, resolving that Joaquim Forn must stay in prison, where he has been since November 2nd last year, after being dismissed from his post as Catalan interior minister, along with the rest of the Catalan government, by Mariano Rajoy on October 28th. Just when you think you have read everything, which is a way of saying that you have seen everything there is to see, it turns out that no, there is something more. And page 13 of judge Llarena's decision, signed by him in Madrid on 2nd February 2018, is something that has to be read several times, if only to search for a conclusion that offers some tiny logical doubt that what is expressed there in writing by the judge is nothing other than a decision about a political prisoner who is in jail because of his ideology.

The text states: "Naturally, the accused [Joaquim Forn] maintains his pro-independence ideology. Moreover, his ideology coexists with a political context in which there is no certainty that the intention of attaining the independence of Catalonia has disappeared, there still being sectors which explicitly defend that it has to be achieved immediately and through continuing in the mechanism for secession that is contrary to the criminal laws that are here under judgement". The Supreme Court judge asks rhetorically how the accused's real intentions can be evaluated, "however much he now affirms that he rejects any illegal action, to the point of giving assurances that he is renouncing his parliamentary seat out of fear that his parliamentary group will lead him to take a contrary action". Pablo Llarena has no doubt that "the unavoidable conclusion is that his declaration only responds to his desire to avoid prison" and, consequently, "the evaluation of his real intentions requires more stable indicators than his own statements".

And above all, the judge's conclusion: "If we consider the uncertainty that exists that the majority political will is to respect the legal order in order to obtain the aspiration of independence that the accused still shares and if we evaluate the still recent determination with which the accused carried out his serious criminal action, it must be concluded that the risk of repeat offending still applies..." And in this way, preventative prison without bail is maintained and explained, for a man who is good, honest and honourable. Three adjectives that no judicial decision will be able to take away from him in this witch-hunt that Spanish justice is now caught up in, in a clear effort to ensure that the lesson being taught to the independence movement impacts as widely as possible.

As more and more days go by, nobody is left with any doubt about the genuineness of those warnings from the Spanish government that an entire political generation leading the institutions would be removed and under no concept would it be allowed to return. That the orders for prison were not just temporary, whatever the behaviour in response from those who today are unjustly deprived of their freedom. Or of those that will be in the future. And Ministers of Justice announcing the decisions of judges in advance, Popular Party politicians commenting off the record that the speaker of the Catalan Parliament has to think carefully about his political decisions because he has two children, and supposed newspapers pointing the finger at journalists instead of carrying out journalism. The year? 2018.

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