- Title: Jailed Catalan leader's wife says hopeful of acquittal, calls for amnesty
- Date: 11th October 2019
- Summary: MADRID, SPAIN (FILE - NOVEMBER 2, 2017) (REUTERS) ROMEVA WAVING AS HE ARRIVES AT SPAIN'S HIGH COURT AFTER BEING SUMMONED TO TESTIFY ON CHARGES OF REBELLION, SEDITION AND MISUSE OF PUBLIC FUNDS IN RELATION TO HIS ROLE IN CATALONIA'S FAILED INDEPENDENCE DRIVE
- Embargoed: 25th October 2019 11:13
- Keywords: Spain Independence Catalan jailed leaders Diana Riba Catalonia Relatives Verdict Raul Romeva Wife
- Location: MADRID, BARCELONA, SANT JOAN DE VILLATORRADA, SPAIN AND BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- City: MADRID, BARCELONA, SANT JOAN DE VILLATORRADA, SPAIN AND BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- Country: Spain
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice
- Reuters ID: LVA002B0NJVBB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The wife of jailed Catalan secessionist leader Raul Romeva said she is hopeful that he will be acquitted and called for an amnesty if there is a guilty ruling when Spain's Supreme Court decides on the case of 12 separatist leaders over their role in Catalonia's 2017 banned referendum and short-lived independence declaration.
Spain's Supreme Court is expected to announce its verdict on the high stakes trial by October 16, but a judicial source said on Friday (October 11) it would be announced on Monday (October 14).
Catalonia's bid for independence triggered Spain's biggest political crisis in decades.
Prosecutors have asked for a 16 year prison sentence for Romeva, and 7 to 25 years for the others.
"There is no evidence that justifies these years in preventive prison nor to be jailed," Diana Riba, 44, told Reuters. She is a European Parliament member for left-wing Catalan separatist party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Catalonia's Republican Left).
Nine of the 12 leaders have been in pre-trial detention for almost two years over charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds. The verdict will deeply influence Spanish politics and could trigger widespread protests in Catalonia in case of a guilty sentence.
Supporters of the defendants say they are political prisoners. The Spanish government says they are being judged strictly in line with the rule of law.
After her husband's imprisonment, Riba decided to quit her career in cultural issues and ran in May's European elections to attract attention to the situation of the jailed leaders and Catalan separatism.
Riba said her family never expected Romeva would be jailed for his role as foreign affairs councillor of the Catalan government at the time.
With their two kids, aged 11 and 13, she sees her husband three hours a month in the jail where he is held outside Barcelona, and she also has bilateral meetings with him. "Imprisonment totally changes family dynamics and changes your whole life from top to bottom," she said.
(Production: Jordi Rubio, Luis Ferlipe Fernadez, Anna Valderrama, Susana Vera, Bart Biesemans)
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