Photo: Archive photo of Toni Comín (Credit: ACN)
From March 26th, 2018
By Ernesto Ekaizer
Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena will confirm the processing of a resultion, on Tuesday [March 27th 2018], regarding which he gave advance notice on Friday, for those accused politicians who have not yet filed an appeal. Of the 25 prosecutions under way, those who are unable to avoid the Supreme action, because they have not appeared to make initial statements, are Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín, Clara Ponsatí, Meritxell Serret and Lluís Puig. As for Anna Gabriel and Marta Rovira, they have also been identified, but as they have opted to settle in Geneva, Switzerland, and are not submitting to the justice process, they have no formal recourse via appeal.
But even before the arrest of President Puigdemont in Germany, attention was already focused on him, and on counselor Comín; Of the five who left for Brussels, they are the only ones that have not yet renounced their roles as deputies of Parliament. Neither one, however, has the ability to lodge an appeal against the order from Llarena, as they are not personally identified in the case. It is only once the deadline on the order by Llarena has expired that the resolution becomes firm.
This situation is key to the application of article ‘384 bis’ of the criminal prosecution law, which states that if a prosecution acquires firmness – in cases of persons charged for armed crime, terrorism or the crime of rebellion – and provisional prison is decreed, their position or function is automatically suspended.
According to sources of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Supreme Court and the Second Criminal Court consulted by the newspaper Ara, Llarena was prepared to apply an additional provision of the law of civil prosecution, which, after the maximum period had lapsed – the three calendar days expired on Monday March 26th at 3 pm – the resolution is taken for granted.
In the cases of Puigdemont and Comín, the consequence of this would be the automatic suspension of their functions as deputies of Parliament. If they were later named directly in the case, they could, in theory, re-obtain their functions during the brief time that the magistrate and the appeals court took to make a decision on their appeal. However, automatic suspension – if they do not resign beforehand – will cause their parties, JxCat and ERC, to nominate replacements from the party deputy list, and Puigdemont and Comín would be replaced in their seats in Parliament.