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European Court decision on jailed leader’s immunity case to be released December 19

Oriol Junqueras argues he has parliamentary immunity by being elected as an MEP, yet he has been in jail for over two years

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28 November 2019 01:32 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has announced it will reveal their decision on the immunity case of jailed pro-independence leader Oriol Junqueras on December 19

The Esquerra Republicana (ERC) leader was elected as a Member of the European Parliament in the May European elections, but was prevented by Spanish authorities from leaving prison to take the oath of office and take up his seat. 

He has been in prison for over two years following Catalonina’s failed 2017 independence push, for which he was ultimately sentenced to a 13-year prison term, convicted of sedition and misuse of public funds, while eight of his pro-independence colleagues were also found guilty.

His case has split opinions across the continent. The Spanish Supreme Court asked the European High Court at the beginning of July on the scope of the immunity of the former Catalan vice president.

Specifically, the Supreme Court asked the ECJ whether Junqueras enjoys parliamentary immunity despite not having completed the accreditation process, and if so, whether he has the right to be allowed out of prison to do complete that process and attend the European Parliament. 

The advocate general of the ECJ gave his opinion that Junqueras has the right to be a Member of the European Parliament earlier this month, arguing it is "only voters" who can decide who becomes an MEP, and that it is up to the European Parliament to decide whether to allow Junqueras legislative immunity.

Previously, Junqueras's seat as an MEP was declared 'vacant' by the Spanish authorities.

The new president of the European Parliament, David-Maria Sassoli, has come under pressure from different sides to allow Junqueras to take his seat as an MEP, and the ERC head has taken Sassoli to court over an alleged failure to defend Junqueras' rights.

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  • Oriol Junqueras's photo sits atop an empty seat in the European parliament beside ERC party colleague Diana Riba. (Photo: Blanca Blay)

  • Oriol Junqueras's photo sits atop an empty seat in the European parliament beside ERC party colleague Diana Riba. (Photo: Blanca Blay)

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