Misc 13/01/2021

Sànchez, Turull and Rull demand to be freed after Belgium refuses Puig extradition

Defences stress Belgian court considered Spanish Supreme Court to have no jurisdiction

Ot Serra
3 min
Els diputats suspesos de JxCat, Jordi Sànchez, Josep Rull i Jordi Turull el dia de la sessió constitutiva al Congrés.

MadridJordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull and Josep Rull are once again trying to get the Constitutional Court to release them while they wait for the resolution of their appeal against the Supreme Court ruling. This move is motivated by Belgium's refusal to extradite former Catalan Minister of Culture Lluís Puig last Thursday. The court of appeal considered that if Puig was handed over to Spain he could suffer violations of fundamental rights: that of the judge predetermined by law and that of presumption of innocence.

The trio's lawyer, Jordi Pina, considers that this is applicable to their clients and that the Constitutional Court should take it into account, despite the fact that these are allegations that have already been made in the past and that have been overturned by the court. On June 16, the court decided against suspending the sentences of ERC leader Oriol Junqueras, former Catalan Minister of Foreign Affairs Raül Romeva and former Speaker of the Catalan Parliament Carme Forcadell. It later took the same decision in relation to the other prisoners.

The defence of the three prisoners sees parallels with Puig's case, although there is an important difference; while Puig is being prosecuted for embezzlement, Sànchez, Turull and Rull were accused of rebellion or sedition. The Supreme Court issued several resolutions in which it expressed its competence to judge these serious crimes and incorporated embezzlement because it maintained that it was related.

"It is a crime closely linked to sedition", said the Supreme Court, an argument that did not convince the Belgian court: "The extension made by the Supreme Court to defendants who were not members of parliament due to the close connection with the crimes charged to the defendants who would be under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court seems to be based on the case law of the Spanish Supreme Court itself, without this having any basis in an explicit legal provision", observed the Belgian resolution.

In relation to the presumption of innocence, which Belgium also warned about in response to the resolution of the UN Panel on Arbitrary Detention, Pina also refers to it. "It should be noted that this situation of risk warned of by the Belgian justice system in the case of our client translates into a consummation of the violation of the right to the presumption of innocence", the lawyer argues. In his brief, he recalls that there was a "trickle of presumptions of guilt" when the leaders of the Independence bid had not yet been tried by members of the judiciary and senior members of the Spanish government.

Leaks and slowness

Sànchez, Turull and Rull also complain that there are leaks to the media about the deliberation of the Constitutional Court and their letter refers to a news item published this Tuesday in El Español in which they explain that the rapporteur of the appeal by former Catalan Minister Meritxell Borràs, Cándido Conde-Pumpido, proposes to overturn the argument that the right to a judge predetermined by law would have been violated. This is precisely one of the arguments that Pina makes using the Belgian ruling.

Furthermore, the lawyer also asks for provisional freedom due to the slowness of the TC in resolving the appeals. In the case of Sànchez, he points out that he has already been in prison for three years out of a total of nine to which he has been sentenced, and he maintains that if the resolution of the appeal takes much longer, it would no longer make sense.