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Junqueras’ bid to regain EU Parliament seat after jail sentence dashed by court

Catalan leader was elected as MEP in 2019 but Spain’s Supreme Court rejected his parliamentary immunity

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08 October 2020 03:58 PM

by

ACN | Luxembourg

Jailed Catalan leader Oriol Junqueras faces an uphill legal battle to regain his European Parliament seat after the EU Court of Justice dismissed his petition to put his ousting on hold pending a final resolution.

Imprisoned for his role as vice president of the Catalan government during the 2017 bid to hold an independence referendum, Junqueras was allowed to run in the May 2019 European election while in pre-trial detention. He won a seat with 733,000 votes. EU institutions acknowledged that he enjoyed parliamentary immunity by the time he was convicted later in October, but Spain’s Supreme Court rejected freeing him and he was later stripped of his MEP status by the chamber itself.

The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has dismissed Junqueras’ petition to restore his MEP status alleging that the European Parliament did not have the authority to overrule Spain’s decision, even having previously stated that Junqueras was effectively an MEP and enjoyed immunity from prosecution.

A decision on Junqueras’ case is still pending at the European General Court, which could then be appealed before the EU Court of Justice.

Detained in November 2017, Junqueras spent almost two years in pre-trial detention before being convicted of the crime of sedition along with eight other pro-independence leaders. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

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  • Former vice president Oriol Junqueras leaving the Lledoners prison (by Laura Busquets)

  • Former vice president Oriol Junqueras leaving the Lledoners prison (by Laura Busquets)

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