Spain seeks the temporary release of jailed Catalan MEP | Spain news

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Spain's state prosecutor has called for the temporary release of a Catalan separatist politician, in what was widely seen as a gesture of political goodwill, since the ruling Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) seeks support to form a government.

The state prosecutor's office requested the Spanish Supreme Court on Monday to allow Oriol Junqueras to travel to Brussels to take his seat as a European deputy.

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In October, Junqueras was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his role in a failed 2017 attempt for Catalan independence.

He was elected to the European Parliament in May while he was in jail awaiting the verdict of his case.

Last month, the higher court of the European Union said that Junqueras was entitled to immunity as an EU legislator.

While the Spanish state prosecutor's office said Junqueras should be allowed to take his seat, he also recommended that any request to dispossess his immunity be made soon so that the politically sensitive case against him can be prosecuted.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in the coming weeks.

Coalition Building

Junqueras, 50, was convicted of sedition and embezzlement of public funds earlier this year for his role in promoting the offer of illegal secession from the thriving region of northeastern Catalonia.

Stripping him of his immunity would require an almost impossible consensus among the 751 MEPs of the European Parliament.

The opinion of the state prosecutor was widely anticipated in the middle of a PSOE campaign to court the Junqueras party, the Republican Left of Catalonia (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya or ERC), to support a government led by the Socialists.

The PSOE and the ERC have met regularly since the November 10 elections that saw the Socialists win but did not reach the majority.

A rapid coalition agreement with the far-left party United We Can (United We Can) raised its total seat count to 155, still below the 176 seats needed for the majority.

Therefore, the 13 seats occupied by ERC members are crucial in coalition talks.

"Having Junqueras out of prison can be seen as a gesture of building trust for (the Socialists), while maintaining the impression that Spain is a country based on rules that crosses the legal loopholes established by the European Union,quot; Rory Challands of Al Jazeera said, reporting from London.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies