Five days after his former role as Catalan parliamentary speaker was transferred to Laura Borràs, Roger Torrent has become the focus of investigative proceedings in Catalan High Court (TSJC) to decide whether he and the other pro-independence members of the outgoing Bureau of Parliament will be brought to trial for alleged disobedience. Faced with yet another case being opened against supporters of independence, the former speaker of the chamber has informed the highest European authorities about the judicial complaint he and his colleagues are facing, as a result of "repeated interference by the Constitutional Court." "The constant judicialization of political life is placing Spanish democracy on a slippery slope", he wrote.
In a letter sent to the president of the European Parliament, the speakers of national parliaments of European Union member states; to the human rights commissioner of the Council of Europe, to the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of Francophonie, to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and to many MEPs, Torrent conveys his "concern" about the Spanish state's repressive attitude towards Catalan political leaders and appeals to the European authorities "to the extent they deem it appropriate" to act "to help protect the exercise of freedoms and fundamental rights in our country and to seek strictly political solutions to the political conflict that exists".
In the text, Torrent explains that the prosecution's justification for the accusation against him and his fellow pro-independence deputies is that they did not prevent the debate and subsequent voting on a series of parliamentary initiatives that disapproved of the monarchy and defended the right to self-determination. Consequently, he says, "the constant judicialization of political life and the backward movement of free speech are placing Spanish democracy on a slippery slope of rights violations that does not seem to have an end."
"In accordance with our convictions"
In parallel, the former speaker of the Catalan Parliament states via his Twitter account that despite legal attacks, he will continue to "defend freedom of expression and MPs' right of initiative." And he concludes: "As we have always done. In accordance with our responsibilities and convictions."
In fact, in Laura Borràs's opening address as new speaker after taking over from Torrent, she promised to return the dignity to Parliament. The wording caused irritation among ERC politicians, who considered it contemptuous with regard to her predecessor.