Spain's Supreme Court blocked Catalan separatist Oriol Junqueras from leaving his jail cell to begin the process of joining the EU parliament by collecting credentials as a newly elected member.
Junqueras is awaiting a verdict after being charged with rebellion, sedition, and the misuse of public funds for his role in the 2017 referendum and declaration of independence in Catalonia. He denies any wrongdoing.
The court said he must remain in jail until there is a verdict. The verdict is expected to come after the summer.
"If he goes to Brussels, the Supreme Court says that it’s going to lose jurisdictional control over him and this means it would be an irreversible danger to the outcome of the trial," Euronews' deputy editor-in-chief Javier Villagarcia told Euronews Tonight.
Two other Catalan politicians won seats in the EU parliament but have not been able to collect their credentials. Toni Comin and Carles Puigdemont are in self-imposed exile in Brussels but would have to travel to Madrid to get their MEP papers.
“If they go to Madrid, they’re going to face detention, so in order to avoid the detention, they’re going to stay in Brussels,” said Euronews’ Villagarcia.
Junqueras was previously allowed to leave jail to collect credentials for Spain's lower house of parliament, but he will not be able to serve as a member in parliament until there is a verdict in the trial.
The president of Junqueras' party Esquerra Republicana's parliamentary group has criticised the judicial decision and said they will appeal it.