Spanish court to hear Catalan leaders' appeals in January

Four jailed politicians on hunger strike to denounce court ignoring their cases

Former president of the Catalan National Assembly Jordi Sànchez (by ACN)
Former president of the Catalan National Assembly Jordi Sànchez (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Madrid

December 5, 2018 06:21 PM

Spain's Constitutional Court will not hear the appeals of Catalan pro-independence leaders Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Cuixart and Oriol Junqueras, all in custody awaiting trial for their part in last year's independence bid, until January.

Former head of the Catalan National Assembly and now an MP, Sànchez is one of four leaders on hunger strike in protest over what they say is the high court's blocking of their appeals to prevent their cases progressing to the European Court of Human Rights.

The first appeals from Catalan leaders charged over organizing an independence referendum will take place next week, beginning with those of Anna Gabriel, Mireia Boya and Carme Forcadell, questioning the high court's jurisdiction over the case.

In all, the Constitutional Court has accepted for consideration some 30 appeals from Catalan leaders, and sources in the court say that two or three appeals will be dealt with each time the 12 judges are scheduled to meet.

The latest appeals accepted by the court came this week from Sànchez, Josep Rull and Jordi Turull, who are all on hunger strike, demanding the ruling by the Strasbourg high court condemning the pre-trial detention of a Kurdish politician in Turkey be applied in their cases.

Supreme Court rejects recusal request

Meanwhile, a special chamber of the Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously decided not to recuse judge Manuel Marchena, who is set to preside over the trial of the Catalan pro-independence leaders next year.

Eight Catalan political leaders in custody had demanded Marchena's removal from the case after a scandal in which leaked messages by a People’s Party (PP) spokesman claimed Marchena's appointment to the head of the Spanish judiciary would serve the party's interests.

Marchena, who was to become the new head of the Spanish Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) following an agreement between the ruling Socialists and PP took himself out of the running for the post with the Catalan leaders officially challenging his fitness to conduct the trial.