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Trial of 2017 parliament bureau members comes to an end

5 former MPs argue that preventing debates on independence in chamber would have been 'censorship'

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24 July 2020 03:45 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The trial of four parliament bureau members and a far-left CUP MP during the 2017 independence push came to an end early on Friday afternoon after three sessions.

Former MPs Lluís Corominas, Ramona Barrufet, Lluís Guinó, and Anna Simó face possible 20-month disqualifications from public office – but not jail – and 30,000 euro fines, as requested by the public prosecutor, as does former far-left CUP MP, Mireia Boya, who is also accused.   

Corominas, Barrufet, Guinó, and Simó are in the dock for having allowed a debate and vote on several motions and bills related to the independence push while bureau members.

Boya, meanwhile, is on trial for her contribution to the independence push that peaked in the referendum that took place October 1, 2017 without Spain's permission, and the declaration of independence in parliament four weeks later.

"Rights and freedoms"

At the conclusion of the trial Boya said she did not fear a possible conviction for disobedience because "it is about something much bigger, dignified and legitimate: people's rights and freedoms," adding that "ideological freedom and the right to political initiative will have been violated" if indeed found guilty.

Simó's lawyer, Raimon Tomàs, said the proceedings amounted to judging "whether parliamentary activity can be censored" by a court.

Other bureau members

Other members of the bureau were called as witnesses. José María Espejo-Saavedra from the unionist Ciudadanos party said the pro-independence members should have assessed the content of the initiatives in contention.

The Socialists' David Pérez said the bureau must stop initiatives that are "openly unconstitutional", and that he did "everything possible" to prevent some proposals from reaching parliament session.

The officials in charge of the chamber's legal services at that time admitted that usually the bureau should not assess the content of the initiatives, but it is supposed to act if it is aware that they are against any decision of the Constitutional Court. And they admitted that Spain's top judges had sent warnings as early as 2014.

The witnesses called by the defense, most of whom were also senior MPs at that time, explained that they also took part in submitting pro-independence motions to the bureau, like Mireia Boya, but were never warned or prosecuted.

"Unilateralism and illegality"

The prosecutor Pedro Ariche said that the pro-independence politicians on trial "renounced dialogue in favor of unilateralism and illegality" while members of the bureau, were "biased" in their interpretation of parliamentary rules, and should have heeded Constitutional Court warnings against their actions. 

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