Imprisoned former Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras won't be allowed to collect his credentials as an MEP. The second chamber of Spain's Supreme Court has this Friday refused him permission to go to the Congress on Monday to swear to follow the Constitution, as required by electoral law. This comes a day after the Central Electoral Commission decided that Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín will also have to attend the ceremony in Madrid at 12pm if they want to take up the seats they won in last month's election.
In their ruling, the judges argue that Junqueras travelling to Brussels to attend the opening of the Parliament "would put [the trial] in irreversible danger". If Junqueras becomes an MEP, he would gain parliamentary immunity. The court argues that his loss of the right to political participation is not irreversible, merely temporary.
The court argues that giving Junqueras permission for Monday would have two effects: "on the one hand, if what they intend is to give priority to the status of European parliamentarian, [there is automatically] the need to give up his status, already acquired, of a member of the Spanish Parliament; on the other, the required transporting of Mr Junqueras to Brussels to take possession [of his seat]".
The judges also cite the existence of the exiles in their verdict: Carles Puigdemont "says he's installed the headquarters of the government of the Catalan republic in exile, whose presidency he would embody". Junqueras travelling to Brussels, they write, would also "from the start imply the loss of jurisdictional control over the cautionary measure that affects him [imprisonment awaiting a verdict in the trial], from the very moment the defendant would leave Spanish territory".
The court argues the current situation is different to when they gave permission to those prisoners in the case elected to the Congress in April's general election to take their seats. They note that Junqueras was among them and he can't hold both roles at once, and that they "adopted the necessary resolutions to enable possession of his right". They emphasise that "this court's duty to secure the trial's aims acquires a special meaning, which conditions the response to any request which could by made".
They also make sure to add that refusing permission today "doesn't imply an irreversible loss of the applicant's right to participation", rather "its temporary adjournment until, depending on the eventual outcome of the trial, the obstacles preventing the acquisitive effect of the status of parliamentarian should disappear".