Top Catalan lawmaker makes bail, cleared to get out of jail

Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena had ruled Thursday that five Catalonian legislators could be freed on bail, including Carme Forcadell, a pro-independence activist and former speaker of the Catalonia Parliament.

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.

Those terms threaten to further undermine an independence movement in which cracks are starting to appear.

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. The vote, however, suffered from turnout of 43% and had been declared "illegal" by the Spanish Constitutional Court before any votes were cast.

Following the independence declaration, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy used his power to fire the administration of Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, dissolve Catalonia's parliament and call a new election.

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.

On Tuesday, Puigdemont's PDeCAT party failed to agree on a united ticket to contest a regional election with another secessionist party, making it hard for the pro-independence camp to govern Catalonia after the vote and press ahead with its bid to split from Spain.

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Forcadell left the Alcala Meco jail close to Madrid in an official Catalan parliament vehicle shortly after 2 p.m. (1300 GMT).

The speaker, Carme Forcadell, will be held in custody until she pays the bail, the source said.

Forcadell tweeted: "We're returning home". "With an easy conscience for having acted correctly: to guarantee freedom of expression in (the Catalan) Parliament, headquarters of the national sovereignty". The 58-year-old Forcadell, is under investigation about her role in proclaiming the independence of Catalonia.

The judge jailed Forcadell immediately, ordered four to pay 25,000-euro ($29,000) bail in one week to remain out of custody and released another who opposed the declaration of Catalonia as a separate republic.

Catalonia's sacked separatist leader Carles Puigdemont and four of his former ministers were released with conditions in Belgium after turning themselves in to face a Spanish warrant for their arrest.

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.

Puigdemont, who also faces charges of rebellion and sedition, is appealing in Belgium against an worldwide arrest warrant served by Spain.

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