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The lawyers of Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras and ministers Raül Romeva, Dolors Bassa and Carles Mundó have today presented appeals against their preventive detention.

Two types of appeal have been presented. The first are individual appeals for each minister, the second a joint one asking for the public prosecutors' filing to be dismissed and to revoke the request for 

The appeals emphasise the context of the current political situation, with an election on the horizon. They describe as disproportionate the order of preventive custody and highlight the "reputational damage" it could mean for a politician in the run up to an election and its effects on the principles which inspire the whole electoral process. The appeal remarks that "the fact that they find themselves in preventive detention irretrievably harms their right to political participation and [the right] of the whole public to political representation".

In the joint filing, they allege that the short time between the admission into consideration of the action and the decision created a situation of "clear lack of defence". The lawyers dispute the prison order on the grounds that the National Audience court doesn't have jurisdiction to investigate the crimes their clients are accused of (rebellion and sedition), the alleged irregular handling of the case and related cases and for the inappropriateness of setting the supposed civil responsibility with a guaranty of more than 6 million euros.

The text says that there's a "judicial response spread around different cases, many of them coinciding [with each other]" which are being investigated in parallel "to investigate the same people in different forums", with incompatible judicial powers which "harm those under investigation and their possibility of effective defence".

The defence outlines what it describes as a "daunting" situation with "multiple cases with totally or partially overlapping goals, working in parallel, in incompatible jurisdictions". This is in reference to the cases open in court of instruction number 13 in Barcelona and those in the the National Audience and Supreme Court in Madrid. The lawyers suggest that at least one of these courts is acting "without being qualified".

Stop the guaranty

The lawyers reject the public prosecutors' criteria in asking for the guaranty and the judge's for imposing it. They argue that "the same facts and the same crime are being investigated at the same time in the TSJC [Supreme Court of Justice Catalonia] in a clear prohibited case of [non] bis in idem [double jeopardy", that the TSJC hasn't determined a guaranty and that Barcelona's court of instruction number 13 "seems to also find itself investigating the expenses related to the referendum".

The defence argues that the guaranty "could mean a violation of the right to property".

Individual appeals

In their individual appeals, the ministers also claim lack of defence. Among the arguments is that the time between the summonses and their appearances was less than 24 hours, which meant they "didn't have time to prepare their defence".

They also list the obstacles they are facing: the lawsuit runs to 117 pages of "fact-dense and complex narrative, loaded with subjective evaluations, impossible to assimilate in record time either for defence professionals or those under investigation themselves", there's no relevant documentation and the crimes, like rebellion and sedition, are of great gravity.

The appeals also note that there was a request to suspend the hearings made the day before which the judge didn't take into account, which Lamela justified by saying that she wasn't aware of it until the end of the hearing. And that the hearings started without the lawyer representing the ERC (Catalan Republican Left) ministers, who was with the members of the Board of the Catalan Parliament in the Supreme Court in a "preferential" assignation.

The pleas to remove the ministers from prison also note that there is no crime of misuse of public funds because there was no spending via the money assigned in the budget to carry out the referendum. As for the charges of rebellion and sedition, it says that the lawsuits describes no fact which fits these crimes nor which demonstrates violence. Quite the contrary, all the facts listed are "clear exercising of civil rights contaminated by a biased view of what happened".

Also on the topic of the other open cases, they highlight that they've not taken any cautionary measure and they deny the risk of reoffending and the flight risk.

The joint appeal


Sample individual appeal (Carles Mundó)