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Sacked Catalan parliament speaker Carme Forcadell freed on bail

Sacked Catalan parliament speaker Carme Forcadell freed on bail

Puigdemont and his former vice president, Oriol Junqueras, are the two main leaders behind the secession bid, which last month led to a unilateral declaration of independence that Spain thwarted when it imposed direct rule.

Demonstrator Miroslav Mitrofanov said Friday's gathering in Riga was "in solidarity with Catalan comrades" of which "some are facing serious accusations and we don't think that is justified".

A Supreme Court judge jailed Catalan regional parliament speaker Carme Forcadell on Thursday and set bail at 150,000 euros ($175,000) after she agreed to either renounce future political activity or do it within the constitutional framework.

As conditions of Forcadell's release, the judge withdrew her passport and ordered her to stay in Spain, to check in at a court in Catalonia each week and to return before the Supreme Court if summoned.

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The investigation is to be handled by regular judicial police rather than Paris's anti-terror unit, he said. The driver attempted to drive off but was stopped by police and arrested straight away.

Cracks, however, have appeared within the pro-independence coalition and within Puigdemont's own PdeCat party (Democratic Catalan Party). Four other lawmakers were to be held until making bail payments of €25,000 bail.

The crimes under investigation of Catalan lawmakers are punishable under Spanish law with up to 30 years in prison.

They are suspected of having followed a "concerted strategy to declare independence", before the official declaration of the Catalan Parliament on October 27.

The court said Friday that bail of 150,000 euros ($175,000) bail had been registered and that a judge has signed a ruling for Forcadell's release.

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Forcadell, along with four other elected members of the Catalan government, spent Thursday night behind bars but were able to leave once they paid bail. The judge also set bail for the other four.

The High Court has issued an arrest warrant on rebellion charges for ex-President Puigdemont and four other former members of his cabinet who are with him in Brussels.

Forcadell claimed before the judge that the independence declaration was "symbolic", according to lawyers familiar with her testimony.

Following Catalonia's independence referendum on October 1, which saw voters overwhelming support secession from Spain, the Catalan parliament passed a declaration on October 27 proclaiming a new Catalan republic. Van den Eynde said the judge's decision had come too late on Thursday for Forcadell that day, adding that she would remain in custody until at least Friday.

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