The Spanish Supreme Court has disqualified Joan Josep Neut, parliament bureau member during the 2017 independence push, after convicting him of disobedience. After his trial last month, judges found the current pro-independence Esquerra MP in Congress guilty on Friday morning and condemned him to 8 months barring from public office and gave him a €12,000-fine.

The public prosecutor had accused him of disobedience for allowing votes on self-determination and independence in the chamber in 2017, in the buildup to the 1 October referendum of that year. Both the attorney general and the solicitor general, representing the Spanish government, requested a 20-month disqualification and a fine of €24,000, but no prison sentence.

During his trial, Nuet made clear his position against independence and defended his innocence, arguing that “not even the parliament’s lawyers knew if authorizing [pro-independence laws and motions] to be debated by lawmakers was unconstitutional.” Nuet testified that as a member of the parliament bureau he was expected to act as a gatekeeper, assessing whether legislative proposals could be debated based on “formal aspects”, but not the “substance”, which had to be debated by lawmakers.

Other bureau members at the time working alongside Nuet were already tried and convicted by the Catalan High Court (TSJC), but Nuet was tried in the Supreme Court because up until this conviction he has been an MP in the Spanish Congress, a position that will now have to leave after his disqualification. Lluís Corominas, Anna Simó, Lluís Guinó, and Ramona Barrufet were found guilty of defying orders from Spain’s Constitutional Court for allowing MPs to vote on laws pursuing independence that had been deemed illegal. They were handed a 20-month ban and fined €30,000 each.

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