Defence for the Catalan pro-independence leaders on trial in Spain's Supreme Court who were elected to the Congress and Senate last month yesterday requested the court formally apply to the legislative chambers for suplicatorio permission to continue with the trial and to release them from detention to be able to fulfil their new duties. Now, Spain's public prosecution service has formally submitted opposition to both measures.
In their filing, prosecutors Javier Zaragoza and Consuelo Madrigal explain that asking the chambers permission to take actions against their members must always come before "arrest, charging or trial". They say the process "isn't planned for those cases in which the acquisition of the condition of deputy or senator takes place after the oral hearings in the strict sense have started, or in the phase of appeals following a definitive sentence".
They argue that article 21 of the Congress's rules, which governs the suplicatorio procedure, is not applicable at this point in the process. In their opinion, it would also mean the trial would have to be suspended until the matter was resolved, something they believe to be impossible at this time.
As for the request for the defendants' release so they could meet their parliamentary duties, they again argue it should be rejected because they believe they pose a flight risk. They note that they were in pretrial detention long before taking the decision to stand in the election, so that they were "fully aware that the effective exercising of their right to political participation was already" affected by their imprisonment. They also question whether "the right to political participation should be subject to special protection in a democratic society".
In short, they use arguments similar to those proffered by the court before the start of campaigning for the election to keep them in prison during that period, saying it was the only way to guarantee their presence in court during the hearings.