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 up his seat.
— EU Court of Justice (@EUCourtPress) November 28, 2019
Junqueras 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.
Only voters decide
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 pressurefrom 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.