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Spanish Court Update Charges For Puigdemont, Comín, And Ponsatí Amid Repeal Of Sedition Law

Repeal of sedition law forces Supreme Court to adapt charges for Catalan politicians; court to resolve MEPs' annulment request.

 The repeal of the crime of sedition by the Spanish government, last December, has forced the Supreme Court to update the charges for which Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí are being prosecuted and, in March this year, it eliminated the offence of sedition in parallel with misuse of public funds and incorporated the new “aggravated” variant of misuse of public funds along with the lesser offence of disobedience.

This means, according to the defence lawyer for the three Junts politicians, Gonzalo Boye, that if the EGC does not accept the demand and withdraws their immunity, the Supreme Court judge, Pablo Llarena, will need to once again ask the European chamber to lift the trio’s parliamentary immunity for the new alleged crimes, which in Ponsatí’s case means only an offence of disobedience.

On Wednesday, the court will resolve case T-115/20, under which MEPs Puigdemont and Comín requested the annulment of the decision of December 10th, 2019, by the then-president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, not to notify the plenary and refer the demand to the competent committee, after this demand had been presented on the MEPs’ behalf by ERC MEP Diana Riba. Thus, the president of the EU Parliament did not act, despite the third EAW which had been issued by judge Llarena. PHOTO BY THIERRY MONASSE/GETTY IMAGES 

Puigdemont’s defence lawyer admits that a ruling against the three this Wednesday in Luxembourg could lead to the Spanish judge issuing a new warrant immediately. However, he argues that the Spanish crime of sedition was the alleged offence for which the European chamber gave authorization to try the MEPs, and that offence no longer exists in the law; and secondly, the crime of aggravated misuse of funds has been added, and that this offence was not contemplated in the request that was considered in the EU Parliament.

In the event that, following a ruling in favour of the Spanish state, Llarena decided to issue a new EAW, Puigdemont’s defence would thus respond by claiming the need for a new request to the European chamber to lift the parliamentary immunity.

Puigdemont’s defence team admits that he has never won any of the cases he has presented before the General Court, that his victories have always come through the higher court, the Court of Justice. In any case, there will be no doubt about the court’s decision, which will be for or against upholding the complaint, but the lawyer Boye also points out that the arguments on which the decision is based, whichever way it falls, could provide clues to foresee in what direction the case will then proceed.


Produced in association with El Nacional En

Edited by Asad Ali and Saba Fatima

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