Josep Rull, Catalonia’s former territory and sustainability minister, who is currently behind bars for the events surrounding the 2017 independence referendum, could soon be taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights. On Tuesday he became the second political prisoner to be able to do so after Spain’s Constitutional Court rejected an appeal regarding the 10.5-year sentence he is serving for sedition. Almost three weeks earlier, the same court dismissed his colleague Jordi Turull’s arguments.

According to the judges, Rull’s Supreme Court sentence is justified because “he actively participated in laying the foundations for the conditions for citizen mobilization aimed at holding a judicially prohibited referendum.” They also state that he “prevented the normal functioning of the state” by helping to ensure the vote would take place despite being warned that doing so was illegal and unconstitutional.

The Constitutional Court had already dismissed the appeals of Meritxell Borràs and Carles Mundó, who were convicted of disobedience but not sentenced to serve time behind bars. Mundó has already announced an appeal before Strasbourg.

On 14 October 2019, Spain’s Supreme Court convicted nine pro-independence politicians and activists to 9 to 13 years behind bars, having found them guilty of sedition and, in some cases, misuse of public funds. The highest court they can appeal to within Spain is the Constitutional Court, which is considering each case individually.

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