Spain's attorney general has directly ordered public prosecutors to request Joaquim Forn be released from pretrial detention on bail of 100,000€ (£87,500, $122,500). To make the order Julián Sánchez Melgar called on his office's statutes, article 25.
"The state's attorney general can impart to his subordinates the proper orders and instructions about their service and the exercising of their functions, both in general and referring to specific matters. When these instructions refer to matters which directly affect any member of the government, the attorney general first has to listen to the board of prosecutors," the article says. They leave no leeway for prosecutors who receive such orders: "the prosecutor who receives an order or instruction which concerns their service and the exercising of their functions, referring to specific matters, has to conform to these in their [written] opinions, but can freely carry out their oral remarks as they believe appropriate for the good of justice".
The change in criteria for the attorney general, however, isn't explained. An order has been received which seems to have more to do with political reasons than legal ones and which exposes the decisions taken by judge Pablo Llarena. But the attorney general's order isn't mentioned in the press statement the prosecution ministry released today, instead they list other reasons, including Forn recently testing positive for tuberculin.
Fidel Cadena, the prosecutor who today attending Joaquim Forn's hearing asked for his release as ordered, saying that he did so "by legal imperative".
It was public prosecutors who on 2nd November last year requested prison without bail for all the ministers of the Catalan government when they testified for the first time to the National Audience court, an argument it had maintained until today.