Catalan Speaker in Madrid court


The sacked speaker of Catalonia's parliament left a prison near Madrid on Friday hours after supporters posted her bail of 150 000 euros ($175,000), ending her brief detention over the region's controversial independence drive. 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.

Four other lawmakers would also be released on 25,000-euro bail, while a fifth would be freed on certain conditions without bail, the source said.

Spanish government spokesperson Inigo Mendez de Vigo said the lawmakers' commitment to the judge indicated that a "return of constitutional order (in Catalonia) is starting to become a reality".

After questioning the lawmakers, magistrate Pablo Llarena jailed only Forcadell immediately. However, in his ruling, the judge wrote: "All the accused. have expressed that either they renounce future political activity or, those that remain active, will do it renouncing any actions outside the constitutional framework".

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

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One other government official was released without having to pay bail.

A top Catalan lawmaker who spent the night in a Madrid region prison as part of a wide-ranging rebellion investigation stemming from the Spanish region's declaration of independence has been released after posting bail.

Former regional president Carles Puigdemont and four other ex-cabinet members fled to Belgium where they are fighting extradition.

The Supreme Court decided on Thursday to take over two other cases against Forcadell and the lawmakers now overseen by a Catalan court, suggesting judges were looking to centralise all legal proceedings involving the independence vote under one roof.

Forcadell, a leading Catalan independence figure, and five other lawmakers were quizzed in a rebellion investigation following the Catalan parliament's October 27 secession declaration. Puigdemont claimed a banned October 1 secession referendum gave it a mandate to declare independence.