Pro-independence Esquerra secretary general Marta Rovira has gone into exile. She announced the decision only minutes before she was due to appear in Spain’s Supreme Court for a hearing. She is under investigation for her role in the independence bid but is currently free on bail. The judge was to review her status in court today. “Exile will be a tough path, but it is the only way for me to recover my political voice” she said in a letter (full text) to party members. However, she did not reveal her destination.

“I cannot hide the deep sadness I feel moving away from so many people that I love” she added. The reasons she gave for her decision include “not feeling free” in Catalonia. “I feel sad, but it would have been much sadder to live in silence inside myself, to feel my freedom of expression censored by courts that intimidate and that shamelessly apply political criteria”. Rovira went on to say that while being investigated and on bail she felt her freedom “limited by arbitrary judicial threats”. “I did not feel free, I did not recognize myself, I have lived in an internal prison these past few weeks” she said.

Six pro-indy exiled leaders

Marta Rovira is on 60,000-euro bail and is being investigated for crimes of rebellion, sedition and misuse of funds, which carry up to 30 years in prison. Today she was to appear in court to find out, along with another 27 officials under investigation in the independence case, whether she was to be prosecuted and for which crimes.

Rovira is the sixth pro-independence politician to go into exile. Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Meritxell Serret are in Belgium, Clara Ponsatí is in the United Kingdom and Anna Gabriel in Switzerland.

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