European justice once again teaches Spain a lesson

2 min
MEPs Clara Ponsatí, Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín at a press conference at the European Parliament.

The General Court of the European Union, based in Luxembourg, has provisionally restored MEPs Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí's immunity, wanted for the events of October 2017. This is a new triumph in the judicial field of the pro-independence exile and a confirmation, once again, that European justice is a field that offers more guarantees and is more scrupulous with fundamental rights than the Spanish courts. The Court has simply reverted to the situation prior to the withdrawal of immunity while it studies the appeal presented by the MEPs defence, and thus accepts the interim measures they sought to prevent any of the three being arrested before the case is resolved. It is a logical decision but it is a lesson for the Spanish justice system, which has always acted in a restrictive manner and with politically biased arguments.

As those affected explained at the time, the whole process followed in the European Parliament to withdraw their immunity was riddled with irregularities. For example, the principle of neutrality and the appearance of impartiality was not maintained throughout the process both by the rapporteur, a Bulgarian far-right MEP who participated in Vox events, and by the chairman of the committee on petitions, Ciudadanos MEP Adrián Vázquez. The European justice system is always particularly scrupulous with these processes, and it is likely to end up annulling the granting of the request, which would be a blow both to the Spanish justice system, which would see extradition requests paralysed again, and to the European Parliament itself, which would not have respected the rights of MEPs and, consequently, of the voters who elected them.

Also on Wednesday, the decision of the Constitutional Court to endorse, with two dissenting votes, the conviction of Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez was made public. This means they can now take their case to Strasbourg, to the European Court of Human Rights. This is the path also taken by prisoners Jordi Turull and Josep Rull, who are in the same situation. The fact that the decision is not unanimous, and that there are two judges who consider the penalties are "disproportionate", gives hope to political prisoners' legal teams in the face of the battle of Strasbourg.

And also this Wednesday it has been known that the plenary of the Constitutional Court, which has a conservative majority, has rejected the report of sentence prepared by magistrate Cándido Conde-Pumpido in which he acquitted those convicted of the siege of Parliament in 2011, a decision would have clashed with Manuel Marchena and the criminal chamber of the Supreme Court, which overruled the High Court's acquittal and did so without hearing the parties, as is mandatory. It seems that the Constitutional Court has decided to close ranks with Marchena and move away from European jurisprudence. Fortunately, however, Spain is in the EU and appeals may yet be addressed to European courts.