The Supreme Court will allow the five newly-elected Catalan MPs currently in preventative prison to swear in and attend the opening sessions of the new Spanish Congress and Senate on May 21. Yet their request for release pending the verdict of the trial in order to begin work in Spain’s Parliament was turned down by the judges in a ruling made public on Tuesday.
The defenses had appealed to the court to ask for parliamentary approval to carry on with the trial once they become elected representatives but this was also refused. The law states that if the Supreme Court wants to try MPs or senators in the Spanish Parliament, the chamber in question must hold a vote on whether to give its consent. However, in this case, the judges have argued that it does not apply since the proceedings began before the defendants had been elected to national office in Madrid.
The leader of left-wing party Esquerra and former Catalan vice-president, Oriol Junqueras, won a seat in Spain’s Congress in the April 28 general election, as well as Junts per Catalunya’s former ministers Jordi Turull and Josep Rull. Jordi Sànchez, activist and until now MP in the Catalan parliament, was also elected. Raül Romeva, former foreign minister and a member of Esquerra, won a seat in the Senate.
They have all been in preventative prison for between 14 and 19 months, as well as four other pro-independence politicians and activists, all of which are currently on trial for rebellion.