Catalan MP in dock for rejecting far-right questions during referendum trial

CUP's Eulàlia Reguant faces four-month prison sentence and ban on holding public office

VilaWeb
VilaWeb / Catalan News Agency
28.09.2022 - 16:51

The trial against MP Eulàlia Reguant began on Wednesday for having rejected the cross-examination of far-right Vox representatives in the 2019 trial of nine pro-independence leaders who received decade-long sentences for their role in the 2017 referendum. The anti-capitalist CUP lawmaker had been called in as a witness in the trial three years ago, but refused to answer Vox’s questions – the far-right party was acting as private prosecutor in the proceedings, which took place in Spain’s Supreme Court.

“Before the far right, and a sexist and xenophobic party, I won’t respond to their questions, and will face the consequences,” she said to judge Manuel Marchena in February 2019, while being questioned as a witness. The first consequence was a €2,500 fine, which she received a few weeks after the events, but she also faces criminal charges. Indeed, the public prosecutor is asking for a four-month prison sentence and a ban from public office over the same period for Reguant, who would be ousted as MP if judges agree with the measure.

Reguant’s defense has asked for her acquittal arguing that the trial violates her “ideological and conscience freedoms.” They say that she was “guided by a sort of conscientious objection and a sense of moral duty.” Also, the political representative points out that she was already punished with a fine and that it is unfair that she risks losing her seat for events that happened before she was elected in February 2021.

Her lawyers also said that Reguant’s behavior is protected under the criminal procedure law’s article 418: “No witness can be obliged to testify about a question the response of which can morally or materially damage them, directly and importantly.” The CUP political representative is not the only person who will be tried for the same events; a local court in Madrid will also try Antonio Baños, former MP for the same party, on Thursday.

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