Junqueras and the 1-0 ERC defendants are asking the Supreme Court to overturn their sentences for the Penal Code Revision

Junqueras and the 1-0 ERC defendants are asking the Supreme Court to overturn their sentences for the Penal Code Revision

Oriol Junqueras, center, at a pro-independence demonstration, along with Carme Forcadell and Raul Romeva (to his left).Oriol Junqueras, center, at a pro-independence demonstration, along with Carme Forcadell and Raul Romeva (to his left) MASSIMILIANO MINOCRI

The commanders of the Esquerra Republicana, convicted of organizing the illegal October 1, 2017 referendum, are asking the Supreme Court to review the verdict, leading to an unconditional acquittal. Former Vice-President of the Generalitat Oriol Junqueras, former President of Parliament Carme Forcadell and former City Councilors Raul Romeva and Dolors Bassa have presented the briefs, in which they use the recent amendment to the Penal Code as a basis to seek a repeal of their sentences.

The Scriptures insist that holding an independence referendum like the one on October 1, 2017 cannot be grounds for prosecution. “This party must insist on denouncing an unpredictable and disproportionate use of the criminal response to events occurring in the exercise of fundamental rights,” read the letter, presented by Junquera’s attorney Andreu van den Eynde. It is argued that the referendum “represented the satisfaction of a political objective broadly shared by a section of the citizenry”.

As a result of 1-O, the former Vice President of the Generalitat was sentenced to 13 years in prison and 13 years of disqualification from his profession. Junqueras is now asking the Supreme Court to acquit him of the crimes of sedition and embezzlement for which he was convicted, in application of the penal code reform. In his letter he warns that it would be unconstitutional to replace them with public disorder. Carme Forcadell was sentenced to 11 years and six months in prison while being disqualified, while Dolors Bassa, like Raul Romeva, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and 12 years outright disqualification. In June 2021, they were all pardoned, as were junts-like politicians Jordi Turull, Josep Rull and Quim Forn, and Òmnium and ANC presidents Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart. But the disqualification penalties remain harsh.

The reform of the penal code has led to different procedural strategies. In the case of the Esquerra charges, they have agreed to seek a new acquittal from the Supreme Court, which will completely erase their criminal responsibility and also overturn the disqualification penalties imposed on them in October 2019. They claim that it is not the case to maintain appropriate sanctions for an embezzlement offense because there was no unlawful enrichment in the litigation. Likewise, they claim that redirecting hate speech to offended public disorder is a normative dysfunction.

“The proven facts, which at the time were subsumed under the criminal offense of incitement to hatred, do not find a typical fit in any other criminal offense and, in particular, cannot be sanctioned according to the criminal offense of public disorder,” says the allegations of the Federal Constitutional Court lawyers for convicts. “The proven facts of the verdict do not prove that there was a will on the part of the accused to disturb public order and there is no indication of a violent aim,” specifies the brief submitted by Olga Arderiu, Carme Forcadell’s lawyer.

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