Junqueras' lawyer formally requests jailed leader's release

Supreme Court only waiting to hear from solicitor general before deciding on EU court ruling backing party leader's immunity as MEP

Andreu Van den Eynde was the laywer for Oriol Junqueras in the Catalan trial (by Natàlia Segura)
Andreu Van den Eynde was the laywer for Oriol Junqueras in the Catalan trial (by Natàlia Segura) / Oliver Little

ACN | Barcelona

December 24, 2019 06:24 PM

The defense lawyer of Oriol Junqueras formally requested on Tuesday that Spain's Supreme Court order the "immediate" release of the jailed Catalan independence leader so that he can attend the European Parliament.

Junqueras' lawyer, Andreu Van den Eynde, made the appeal in writing, after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the head of the ERC party had immunity as an MEP-elect and should have been allowed out of prison to take up the seat he won in May.

Following the ECJ's decision, the Supreme Court gave all parties involved in Junqueras' case, which sees him currently serving a 13-year jail term for his part in the 2017 independence bid, five days to submit their arguments and reports.

So far, the public prosecutor, the far-right Vox party - which is a private prosecutor in the case -, and Junqueras' defense have all presented their arguments to the high court, with only Spain's solicitor general still to do so.

While the defense of Junqueras argues for the jailed leader's release and the overturning of his sentence, Vox has called for him to remain imprisoned, while the public prosecutor has accused Junqueras of "abuse of rights" in demanding his sentence be revoked.

Junqueras' situation has implications beyond the legal sphere, as his ERC party is in talks with the Socialists to reach a deal on investing Pedro Sánchez as Spanish president. ERC has halted the talks while it waits to see what decision the high court makes.