The suspensions were not based on political grounds, as a Guardian article claims, but follow the strict application of Spanish law, writes Dolores Delgado, the Spanish secretary of state for justice
A recent Guardian column by Alfred Bosch (theguardian.com, 5 June), a regional minister in the Catalan government, claimed that elected members of the Catalan parliament and their constituents are being denied their democratic and political rights in Spain “for purely political reasons”. The true situation is quite different. The bureau of the lower chamber and the senate of the Spanish parliament suspended MP status for four Catalan politicians who are currently in pre-trial detention. The four are waiting for a ruling of the supreme court, following a criminal trial for serious offences. The trial sessions were conducted with full guarantees, transparency and were broadcast live. The suspensions were not based on political grounds as Mr Bosch claims, but follow the strict application of Spanish law.
Mr Bosch refers to three other people who stood for the European elections on 26 May. One of them, Oriol Junqueras, is in pre-trial detention, the two other, Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín are both fugitives from justice and currently living outside Spain. EU member states are responsible for notifying the European parliament of the list of candidates who have been formally declared elected. To qualify as an elected MEP, a candidate must express his or her loyalty to the Spanish constitution, and he has to do that in person, in Madrid. It happens that neither Mr Puigdemont nor Mr Comín wanted to come to Spain, to avoid being accountable to justice. Mr Junqueras, who is in pre-trial detention, has not been authorised to leave prison to comply with the above-mentioned procedure; however, this is a decision taken by the Spanish supreme court.
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