LAWYERS for five of Catalonia’s political prisoners have formally asked Spain’s Supreme Court for their temporary release to allow them to be sworn in as MPs and senators after their success in the April 28 general election.

Jordi Sanchez, from Together for Catalonia (JxCat) and former vice-president Oriol Junqueras, leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), won seats in the Congress of Deputies for Catalonia, while former ministers Jordi Turull and Josep Rull won seats in Lleida and Tarragona for JxCat.

Another ex-minister, Raul Romeva (ERC), was elected to the Senate.

The move by lawyers Jordi Pina and Andreu Van den Eynde is significant as elected members enjoy a level of immunity from prosecution under the Spanish constitution.

Pina, who represents Turull, Rull and Sanchez, said yesterday: “This morning we have presented two writings on behalf of the prisoners who have been democratically elected in the Congress of Deputies and the Senate, to inform the court that since yesterday we have certifications that they are elected …

“We ask for their freedom again so they can go to the Congress of Deputies on the 21st of this month.”

Van den Eynde said the move gave the court an opportunity to set out its position on rights of political representation.

“I wanted to emphasise … the possibility of direct study of how they want to protect the rights of political representation,” he said.

“Membership in the Spanish chambers implies a status immunity much higher than what a parliamentarian can have in Catalonia.

“The Supreme Court will now have to make, for the first time and after so many days of custody of the clients, this judgment of what importance it attaches to the rights of political representation.”

Junqueras, meanwhile, has said ERC has accomplished its election campaign objectives – to dye the Catalan map yellow and make history for the Catalan independence cause in a Spanish election.

In an interview with TV3, he said: “Freedom and democracy have once again defeated repression. And they sent a very clear message to the state and to the world.

“The polls have decided that Catalonia is Republican and wants to

continue fighting for independence and self-determination. But we are [only] halfway. Now ... we must consolidate the independentist vote.”

Catalan pro-independence MPs helped Sanchez oust Mariano Rajoy, but also forced him into calling a snap election when they refused to support his budget.

Independence has already dropped two governments and we will not hesitate to do it again if the will of the people of Catalonia is not respected,” said Junqueras.

“Pedro Sanchez must reflect and decide whether he wants to work to find an exit to the political conflict or not, and, obviously, this goes through unconditional dialogue.”

Junqueras added that the independence movement was continuing to strengthen: “The best news of the [election] night is that the independence movement grows ... with strength in places where it had not done so before. And it also does so through new voters. ERC is growing and not to the detriment of other independentist forces.”