Andreu Van den Eynde, the lawyer for jailed Catalan leader Oriol Junqueras, has warned that a challenge shall be inevitable should the Spanish Supreme Court release its verdict before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has made a decision on Junqueras’s parliamentary immunity.
Although it is expected that the sentence be challenged regardless of whether it is released before an EU ruling, Van den Eynde has stressed that not waiting would make it all the more inevitable.
The Esquerra Republicana (ERC) party leader was elected as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) in May, but was not permitted to leave prison in order to take the oath of office and officially take up his seat.
Van den Eynde is citing a ‘violation of fundamental rights’ as grounds for demanding that the sentence be suspended until Luxembourg’s impending decision is made.
He stresses that there is ‘no legal body that can cover somebody’s immunity who is already serving sentence.’
Junqueras argues that his election to the European chamber means he should be given parliamentary immunity, and therefore be freed from jail, where he is currently awaiting the verdict of the Catalan Trial.
However, defense lawyer Van den Eynde doubts that the Supreme Court will withdraw the preliminary question about the extent of the Esquerra leader’s immunity.
The Supreme Court questions whether immunity is valid from the moment of election or before the Euro parliament constitution session, and whether Junqueras would be released ‘automatically’ in order to be able to assume his mandate.
The hearing for Junqueras’s immunity will be held on 14 October in Luxembourg. The defence has proposed that the Court of Justice analyse whether the decision of the Supreme Court respected the ‘fundamental rights’ of Junqueras.