Constitutional Court rejects first jailed independence leader's appeal, opening path to European justice

Top judges dismiss Jordi Turull's arguments, as 2017 referendum leaders have long anticipated taking their case to Strasbourg

Jailed Catalan leader Jordi Turull before entering the Lledoners prison (by Estefania Escolà)
Jailed Catalan leader Jordi Turull before entering the Lledoners prison (by Estefania Escolà) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

April 22, 2021 01:59 PM

Spain's Constitutional Court has rejected the first pro-independence jailed leader's appeal to the October 2019 verdict on the 2017 referendum.

The top magistrates dismissed Jordi Turull's arguments, something already anticipated by the defenses. They were particularly eager to hear the decision because only now that all possible appeals within Spain's justice are over will will be able to take the independence push case to the European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg.

The Constitutional Court had already dismissed the appeals of Meritxell Borràs and Carles Mundó, who were convicted for disobedience, which did not carry time in prison – the latter already announced an appeal before Strasbourg.

Two of the judges in the institution, Cándido Conde-Pumpido and Antonio Narváez, withdrew from the deliberations after some complaints made by the defenses about a possible lack of neutrality. 

2017 referendum trial 

On October 14, 2019, Spain's Supreme Court convicted nine pro-independence politicians and activists to between 9 and 13 years in jail, found guilty of sedition and in some cases misuse of funds – the only possible appeal to the sentencing within Spain's judiciary was the Constitutional Court, which on Thursday began to decide on each case separately.

Turull, Catalan government spokesperson during the 2017 referendum, was convicted to 12 years behind bars.