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The speaker of Spain's Congress of Deputies, Meritxell Batet, has given way to Supreme Court judge Manuel Marchena and this afternoon suspended the Podemos MP Alberto Rodríguez from parliament, following the MP's conviction by the Supreme Court for kicking a police officer in 2014.

Batet has decided to bow to the criteria of the Supreme Court, despite the discontent that this creates with Spanish coalition partner Podemos, after judge Marchena sent a communication noting that Rodríguez has been sentenced to prison and to disqualification from public representation.

The office of the parliamentary speaker released a statement that Batet "has communicated to the MP Alberto Rodríguez the statement of the president of the Supreme Court conveying the sentence from the second chamber, which entails the loss of the condition of member of the Spanish Congress, and the ruling by which the execution of this sentence is ordered. The information has also been conveyed to the Central Electoral Commission, for the purposes of his replacement, and to the general secretariat of Congress".

Batet also sent the communication officially to the Supreme Court, with a copy of these communications, while she personally contacted the Podemos MP to forward the Supreme Court notification to him.


Kicked a police officer 

The Unidas Podemos parliamentarian was sentenced to pay a fine of 540 euros and compensate a National Police officer for kicking him during a demonstration in La Laguna (Canary Islands) in 2014. The sentence decreed was a month and a half of imprisonment, but the Spanish Penal Code obliges prison sentences to be automatically replaced by a fine for these convictions. What was not substituted was the other part of his conviction, disqualification from passive suffrage, that is, the right to stand for election.

On Wednesday, Marchena asked Batet to provide a report on compliance with the Congressional deputy's disqualification, pressuring her to decide to suspend him from parliament. This Friday, the Supreme Court has dropped the subtleties, and has responded to the request for clarification from the Speaker of the Spanish lower house. In the communication, Marchena reiterates: "The prison sentence is a punitive outcome associated with the conduct that has been declared proven, without prejudice to the fact that for the purpose of its execution - and only for these exclusive purposes - its substitution with a fine has been agreed".

That is, Rodríguez's disqualification was the consequence of the crime for which he was convicted. The fact that the substitution of the prison sentence with a fine was negotiated, and that he paid it, is irrelevant and cannot be considered as if it took place prior to his conviction. The act of sentencing, according to the Supreme Court, precedes the substitution of the prison sentence.