No Freedom For Catalan Leader

No Freedom For Catalan Leader


By Peter H. Salus

Spain’s supreme court has refused to grant bail to the ousted Catalan vice-president, Oriol Junqueras, who has been in prison for more than two months over his role in the region’s unilateral push for independence.

On Friday afternoon, three judges ruled Junqueras would remain in custody on the grounds that he could seek to carry on with the secessionist struggle if released.

In a written ruling, they also said there were indications to suggest he had committed the offences on suspicion of which he was being held: sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds.

Junqueras told the court on Thursday he would obey the law if released, but the judges said there was a risk he would reoffend, because “there is no sign that the defendant has any intention of abandoning the route he has followed until now”. They also flatly rejected claims that Junqueras, who has been in prison since 2 November, was a “political prisoner”.

The ruling means Junqueras is likely to miss the inaugural session of the new Catalan parliament on 17 January. His lawyer, Andreu Van den Eynde, said his client has asked the court to free him so that he could “represent the people who voted for him”, rejoin his family and work to find a solution to the current political crisis.