Prisoners to run on Dec 21

Legal challenge sees Oriol Junqueras and three jailed ERC members calling for their freedom so that they can take part in upcoming Catalan elections

The lawyers of the eight Catalan ministers from the Together for Yes coalition held in custody for promoting the independence of Catalonia yesterday challenged the rulings that have kept them behind bars. Insisting that “they have committed no offence”, and much less rebellion, which by law requires the use of violence, the lawyers challenged the reasons for keeping them in custody, such as the risk of absconding. What’s more, all eight ministers refused to pay bail of 6.2 million euros, which the prosecutor estimates is the cost of organising the October 1 referendum. One of the arguments used by former vice president Oriol Junqueras and the ministers from the ERC party (Dolors Bassa, Raül Romeva and Carles Mundó) is that they must be released so they can stand as candidates in the Catalan elections on December 21.

Apart from challenging the detention of the ministers, lawyer Andreu van den Eynde also appealed the prosecutor’s charge, alleging that the Audiencia Nacional high court “does not have powers of investigation” for the offences of rebellion and sedition. He also insists that the defence of the ministers is affected by the fact that they are under investigation by three different courts.

Another argument used by the defence lawyers is that most of the ministers have young children, which diminishes the chances of them absconding.

However, one of the strongest arguments for their release is their right to political participation: “The suspects are potential candidates in the election and if they were not deprived of their liberty would actively participate in the electoral campaign,” Van den Eynde pointed out.

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