Wednesday, December 6

Four months in jail for former CUP deputy Antonio Baños for not answering Vox in the procés trial

A criminal court in Madrid has sentenced Antonio Baños, former deputy of the CUP in the Parliament of Catalonia, to four months in prison for disobeying the Supreme Court and not answering Vox’s questions in the 2019 pro-independence trial. The sentence of Baños does not imply his entry into prison and can still be appealed, but it comes just a few days after the Supreme Court has sentenced Eulàlia Reguant, deputy of the same party, to only one fine for the same acts. The conviction also implies the disqualification for the right to passive suffrage, which implies that he will not be able to stand for election while his sentence lasts.

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Baños appeared as a witness in the procés trial and, like his party colleague Eulàlia Reguant, refused to answer the questions of the popular accusation exercised by the far-right Vox party. The two expressed to Manuel Marchena, president of the court, that they did not want to answer the questions from the extreme right and the magistrate informed them of the possible consequences.

Both were fined 2,500 euros and now the criminal court 30 of Madrid has signed a four-month prison sentence for Baños for a crime of disobedience. The magistrate explains that the accused “had not the slightest intention of answering Vox’s questions, being stubborn and obstinate in his denial and adopting an attitude of open rebellion before the order of the High Court.”

It does not matter, says the conviction, if it was offered to the rest of the parties. And his disobedience, he adds, “cannot be protected by supposed ideological motives. “It is surprising, even frivolous, that political or ideological reasons are adduced to refuse to answer whoever is a party to a judicial proceeding when ideological freedom is a fundamental right recognized for everyone, not just those who the accused decides.”

They are arguments similar to those recently used by the Supreme Court to convict the deputy Eulàlia Reguant for the same crime for doing exactly the same thing. In her case, the Supreme Court opted for a fine of 13,500 euros, understanding that a prison sentence and disqualification could be disproportionate as it implied the loss of her seat in the Catalan chamber. In the case of Baños, the criminal magistrate explains why he opts for prison and not for the fine: for violating Vox’s “right to defense” in the procés trial, for disobeying the highest court in our country, for doing it in a trial with “a great repercussion” like that of the procés and for maintaining his refusal despite being sanctioned.

“The four-month sentence requested by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, close to the legal minimum, is considered proportionate,” the magistrate settles.