Spain’s Supreme Court has rejected the petition from jailed Catalan politician Oriol Junqueras to delay the verdict for his role surrounding the 2017 independence referendum until the Court of Justice of the European (CJEU) rules on his potential immunity.
Junqueras was elected MEP in May’s European election but then blocked from taking up his seat in the European Parliament. A hearing on whether he is still entitled to political immunity given the circumstances will be held on 14 October.
The jailed politician had asked that the Spanish court put the verdict ‘on hold’ until the Luxembourg court ruled on the matter, but the Supreme Court magistrates have deemed that this question does not condition the upcoming sentence.
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This decision comes weeks after Junqueras’ lawyer, Andreu Van den Eynde, stated that he would challenge the Supreme Court’s verdict if it was announced prior to the EU court ruling on his client’s immunity.
Although the sentence was expected to be challenged regardless of whether it was released before the EU ruling or not, Van den Eynde stressed that not waiting would make it even more likely for what he has called a ‘violation of fundamental rights’.
Extending precautionary detention
The news of the Supreme Court’s dismissal of Junqueras’ proposal was announced the same day as the public prosecutor requested a hearing with the Supreme Court on the possibility of extending the precautionary detention of Jordi Sànchez – the former head of pro-independence organisation Catalan National Assembly (ANC) turned Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) politician – and Jordi Cuixart – the head of Òmnium Cultural.
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Both Sànchez and Cuixart have been in prison since 16 October 2017, and are facing 17-year sentences for rebellion. For them to be in precautionary detention prior to sentencing for over two years – which could be the case if the verdict is not announced before next Wednesday – the Supreme Court would have to approve an extension.
According to CUP politician Vidal Aragonés, extending their detention before the verdict is out would be a judicial act of ‘barbarism’.
As for Oriol Junqueras, who has already spent almost two years in precautionary detention, the public prosecutor has requested that he serve a 25-year sentence for rebellion and misuse of public funds.