The Catalan MP for the CUP party, Eulàlia Reguant, has been sentenced in Spain's Supreme Court to pay a fine of 13,500 euros for refusing to answer a far-right Vox party lawyer during the 2019 trial of Catalan pro-independence leaders. In the end, Reguant was not banned from holding office but will have to pay a fine of 50 euros per day for 9 months, a sum of 13,500 euros in total, for not having answered the questions put by the private prosecution conducted by the extreme right during the trial. The court considered that the deputy and spokesperson for the left-wing, pro-independence party committed a crime of serious disobedience of an authority, but in the end it did not ban her from office, which in recent weeks she had assumed would be the case.
Reguant refused to respond to Vox during her appearance as a witness at the trial of political and civil leaders of Catalonia's independence process, which took place in early 2019 and ended with the sentencing for sedition of the nine political prisoners. Specifically, this decision not to respond by the CUP deputy took place on February 27th, 2019 in a trial in which the political party Vox was exercising the option possible under Spanish law of conducting a private prosecution in parallel to that led by the public prosecutors. Her trial, on September 28th, 2022, forced the Catalan Parliament's general policy debate to be rescheduled, and in the hearing, where she testified in Catalan, Reguant denounced the Spanish state's repression, reaffirming her decision not to respond to the extreme right party which is the third largest in the Spanish Congress: "I didn't want to answer the extreme right, which represents fascism, racism and sexism."
"Obvious and unequivocal attitude"
Now, according to the Supreme Court judgment, "the attitude of the accused in refusing to comply with the mandate of the court was evident, unequivocal, clear and patent", not only expressed during her trial, but also in writing in the text presented by her legal representative. Thus, the court notes that Reguant's opposition was "meditated and decided" and, on the defence of ideological freedom and conscientious objection that she used to justify her conduct, the Supreme Court considers that the CUP deputy "clearly crossed the limits of freedom of ideology and conscience", and was not in a situation of a "lawful exercise of her freedom of expression".
Regarding the fine and the decision not to ban Reguant from office, something that the CUP party and the MP herself already took for granted, the Supreme Court states that there are no reasons to impose a prison sentence, "not only because it is a penalty of deprivation of liberty, but for the accessory consequences it entails", referring to the special ban on her right to passive suffrage (that is, to be an MP) during the time of the sentence. Regarding the 13,500 euro fine, the court considers that this is "adjusted" to Reguant's financial capacity.
Reguant's reaction to the sentence
Reguant's reaction was not long in coming, but rather than comment on the content of the sentence, her message was a complaint that instead of being informed directly, she learned of the Supreme Court's decision through the media. "Once again it is via the media that I receive a notification from the Supreme Court. In this case it is my sentence. Waiting to read it beyond the headlines: not responding to fascism can never be considered a crime ", she wrote on Twitter.
Un cop més és via els mitjans de comunicació m'arriba una notificació del Tribunal Suprem. En aquest cas és la sentència.— Eulàlia Reguant Cura (@aramateix) October 7, 2022
A l'espera de llegir-la més enllà dels titulars: no contestar al feixisme mai no es pot considerar un delicte.