The Latest: Politician pledges to abide law on secession

January 11, 2018

FILE- In this Monday, May 8, 2017 file photo, former Catalan president Artur Mas, left, waves to the crowd next to the then Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont at the main entrance of the court in Barcelona, Spain. Mas announced Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, he is resigning as head of his regional pro-independence party, saying he wants to clear the way for a new generation of leaders pushing for secession from Spain. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

MADRID (AP) — The Latest on the restive Spanish region of Catalonia (all times local):

5.45 p.m.

Lawyers for ousted Catalan interior minister Joaquim Forn says they will ask the Spain Supreme Court to the politician from jail now that he has promised to act within the law.

Forn was re-elected on a separatist party ticket last month during a regional parliamentary election in Catalonia. But lawyers who attended closed-door proceedings Thursday say Forn told Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena he would not serve again as interior minister if asked.

The lawyers asked not to be named in line with court rules.

Forn was one of several ministers jailed Nov. 2 on provisional rebellion charges following the Catalan parliament’s independence declaration a week earlier.

He is among three prominent backers of Catalan independence who testified about their roles in the secession movement on Thursday, hoping to get out of prison.

All three said they would oppose moves to push for independence unilaterally outside Spanish law.

— By Ciaran Giles in Madrid.


1:20 p.m.

Lawyers for a jailed activist of the Catalan independence movement say he has admitted that the region’s Oct. 1 referendum on whether to split from Spain lacked legal validity.

Ex-National Catalan Assembly civic group leader Jordi Sanchez made the statement when making his case against his jailing for involvement in the region’s independence push, according to lawyers who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss closed-door proceedings.

The lawyers said Sanchez, who was elected a lawmaker in Catalonia’s elections last month, asked the judge to release him.

Sanchez was jailed on provisional sedition charges related to preparations for the illegal Oct. 1 referendum.

The Catalan government used the referendum result to justify a unilateral declaration of independence later that month that prompted the Spanish government to seize control of the region.

Sanchez was one of three jailed Catalan representatives appearing before the Supreme Court judge handling the secession probe.

___ By Associated Press Writer Aritz Parra in Madrid.


12:40 p.m.

Carme Forcadell, a leading activist in Catalonia’s pro-independence movement, says she will not seek re-election as regional parliament speaker when the chamber meets Jan 17.

Forcadell, who is under investigation for rebellion for her involvement in the push for independence, said it was time someone else to occupy the post. The role is important as the speaker can decide what is debated and voted on.

Forcadell was re-elected lawmaker for the pro-secession ERC party last month after elections called by the Spanish government when it sacked the regional government and dissolved parliament following its declaration of independence.

She previously headed the National Catalan Assembly, the main pro-independence grassroots group.

Earlier this week, former regional president Artur Mas resigned as head of the PDeCat leading separatist party.


10:10 a.m.

Two recently-elected lawmakers in the restive Spanish region of Catalonia and another separatist activist are making their case against their jailing for involvement in the region’s push for independence.

National Catalan Assembly civic group member Jordi Sanchez and former Catalan interior minister Joaquim Forn, who were elected on separatist party tickets in Catalonia’s Dec. 21 elections, are appearing Thursday before Supreme Court Judge Pablo LLarena. Also appearing is activist Jordi Cuixart.

Forn was one of several regional ministers jailed on provisional charges of rebellion after the Catalan parliament declared independence Oct. 27. That prompted the Spanish government in Madrid to dissolve the regional parliament and call fresh elections.

Sanchez and Cuixart were jailed previously on provisional sedition charges related to preparations for the illegal Oct. 1 independence referendum.

Update hourly