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Spain's Constitutional Court has rejected the final appeal option at Spanish level by Catalan politician Jordi Turull against his conviction in the 2019 trial of pro-independence leaders. For Turull, the way is now open to go to Europe and take his case to the European Court of Human Rights. The Constitutional Court's processing of his appeal, which took more than a year, was an essential prerequisite in order to be able to seek redress in Europe.

This is the Spanish constitutional body's third resolution of an appeal relating to the trial of the Catalan leaders. The first two considered were those of Meritxell Borràs and Carles Mundó, two out of the three defendants convicted of disobedience but not sent to prison. The other nine political and civil leaders were sentenced to jail terms of 9-13 years for a major offence of sedition.    

The court's full decision has not yet been released, but the lawyers have been notified of the resolution, which was not unanimous. There are two dissenting votes, from judges Juan Antonio Xiol and María Luisa Balaguer.

The details will be known in the coming days, when the Constitutional Court completes the draft of its written argument.

For the time being, the Constitutional Court states, via reporting judge Pedro González-Trevijano, that among other issues, the offence of sedition in article 544 of the Penal Code "does not have a level of vagueness that violates the principle of precision" and that the Supreme Court has not applied this offence in a way analogous to in malam partem" - a Latin term meaning "with ill will".  

Rights violated 

Turull filed his appeal together with Jordi Sànchez and Josep Rull, asserting that his fundamental rights were violated by the Supreme Court verdict of October 14th, 2019. All three consider that their rights to not be discriminated against were breached on linguistic grounds, in terms of ideological freedom, liberty, the rights of assembly and demonstration, effective judicial protection and the entitlement to a trial under full guarantees and criminal legality.

The appeal requested the reparation of these violations of rights by declaring the trial verdicts null and void. Their submission listed eleven different breaches of rights.

Turull alleged that the right to legality had been violated in relation to fundamental rights to liberty, peaceful assembly and freedom of expression and ideology "due to the insufficient precision of the offence of sedition". His appeal argues that the definition of the offence of sedition applied to the Catalan leaders is not "respectful" of the degree of ascertainment which should be expected of a criminal category that imposes such severe penalties.