Junqueras urges to be transferred to a Catalan prison
The Catalan vice president also asks the Supreme Court to let him attend opening session and investiture debate in Parliament
Oriol Junqueras, the jailed Catalan vice president, urged on Wednesday morning to be transferred to a Catalan prison. His lawyer, Andreu Van den Eynde, also asked the Spanish Supreme Court to allow Junqueras to attend the opening session in the Catalan Parliament on January 17, and the debate to select the next president to be held by January 31, as he is an elected MP following the December 21 election.
Provisional prison cannot mean ‘excessive restriction of individual rights’
The arguments for the request include a reference to the United Nations Nelson Mandela Rules for the treatment of prisoners. They state that “unconvicted prisoners are presumed to be innocent and shall be treated as such.” According to Van den Eynde, a provisional imprisonment “cannot have more distressing consequences than those needed.” In his request, he also claims that this situation cannot result in “an excessive or disproportionate restriction of individual rights,” for instance political rights.
Van den Eynde acknowledges that the fact of being in provisional prison means being unable to attend Parliament every day, but this “cannot imply not attending the plenary session or losing his vote.” But if this happened, “this would alter the parliamentary arithmetic and would alter the people’s will,” he adds.
"Provisional prison cannot have more distressing consequences than those needed"
Andreu Van den Enyde · Oriol Junqueras' lawyer
He testified for a third time at the Supreme Court on January 4, hoping to be freed after more than two months behind bars. Yet the judges decided to keep him in custody because of a “high risk” of criminal reiteration. Junqueras, along with the rest of the Catalan deposed government members, is accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of funds following the October 1 referendum and the October 27 declaration of independence. These charges can carry up to 30 years in prison.
Charges of up to 30 years in prison
On January 17 the Parliament bureau members are expected to be appointed. The pro-independence parties have the majority of seats in the chamber and would not have any problem to keep control of the bureau under ordinary circumstances. Yet eight MPs of the parties for a Catalan state are either in jail in Belgium, so it is unlikely that they will be able to turn up. Junqueras’ request is an attempt to so these MPs wouldn't have to give way.