The Constitutional Court decides whether those sentenced to prison in the ERE are released


09/26/2023 at 07:39


They would enjoy freedom pending the resolution of the merits of their appeal, which appeals to the violation of fundamental rights.

The Constitutional Court will decide in its plenary session this week, which will be held between this Tuesday and next Thursday, whether it considers the precautionary measure requested by the sentenced to jail in the case of the ERE of Andalusia. If they answer affirmatively, this will mean their release from prison. six exalted officials who currently and from the end of December 2022 and beginning of January 2023, as the case may be, remain in prison. They would enjoy freedom pending resolution of the merits of their appeal, which appeals to the violation of fundamental rights.

By admitting for processing the twelve appeals submitted to the Constitutional Court by those convicted in the political leadership in the ERE case, which occurred last June, the Chamber denied the very precautionary measures of suspension of the custodial sentence proposed by the defense of former president José Antonio Griñán and another of the condemned, and chose to open a separate piece which is the one that has been submitted to the Plenary – made up of eleven magistrates, but also with a progressive majority – to study the possible suspension of the execution of sentences. That piece is what is now resolved.

Lack of precedents

The meaning of what the Constitutional Court can resolve is up in the air and the versions of the jurists consulted differ. The doctrine of the High Court indicates that there is no precedent for suspension of prison when the sentence imposed is already being served and is more than five years. In that case, the foreseeable thing would be to refuse to suspend the prison sentences.

However, both the defense of the convicted and other sources consulted close to the Constitutional Court emphasize that the twelve appeals were admitted for processing because the court considered that “the plausibility of the violations of fundamental rights alleged by the appellants”. “It was not a procedure,” these sources emphasize, so it could not be ruled out, they insist, that the prison be suspended.

Griñán and Viera, out

The former president of the Board, José Antonio Griñán, never set foot in prison after the Provincial Court of Seville decided last June that the prostate cancer he suffers from, for which he is being treated, advised against his admission. That suspension of the prison sentence was set for five years. This was advised by the forensic doctor who was asked for several reports. Griñán’s defense appealed to article 80.4 of the Penal Code, which provides for the suspension of sentences in cases of serious illness or incurable illness.

When his prison sentence was suspended, Griñán withdrew from the Constitutional Court his request as a precautionary measure that the prison be revoked although he maintains his appeal to the six-year sentence for embezzlement and prevarication in the ERE, during his time as Andalusian Minister of the Treasury.

The former Employment Minister also now sleeps at home José Antonio Viera, who last June entered the third degree of prison and a regime of semi-freedom due to the cancer he suffers from. Viera, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for prevarication and embezzlement in the ERE case due to his time as Employment Counselor, entered Huelva prison on January 2, where he remained until June 9 .

Although Griñán has waived his request for suspension of prison, already granted by the Court, the appeals of the rest of the convicted persons continue and the Constitutional Court has on the agenda to resolve on their precautionary measures and the request for suspension of prison sentences.

They are in prison

Currently, six of the eight former high-ranking officials sentenced to prison in the ERE remain in jail. The former Employment Minister, Antonio Fernandezwho is serving his sentence in the Puerto III prison (Cádiz), the former Minister of Innovation, Francisco Vallejohis former vice-counselor, Jesus Maria Rodriguezand the former director general of the IDEA Agency, Miguel Angel Serranoall in the Seville I prison. The former deputy minister of the Treasury also remains in prison, Carmen Martínez Aguayo. They all went to prison to serve their sentence last Christmas, since the Court set the deadline for the execution of the Supreme Court’s sentence at the beginning of January 2023.

The former Deputy Minister of Employment, Agustín Barberá, nor did he enter prison at the time that the rest of his colleagues did since, like former President Griñán, he requested suspension due to suffering from an incurable illness. However, contrary to what was decided for the former president, the Court finally ordered his imprisonment last April. He also did it in Puerto III (Cádiz), where his former head of Employment, Antonio Fernández, is. In his case, the Court finally determined that he could be treated in prison without risk to his life.

The political piece

There were a total of eight high-ranking officials of the Andalusian Government who were sentenced to prison in the case of the ERE, within the trial of the so-called “specific procedure” and that he judged the system by which up to 680 million euros of public funds had been distributed to pay for employment regulation files and aid to companies in crisis.

The Supreme Court considered that the leadership of the Andalusian Government created and maintained, in 2000 to 2009a system for granting social and labor aid designed to avoid “all administrative control”, disposing of public money “on a discretionary basis” and “outside of all legality”. The Seville Court has already handed down its sentence, ensuring that the law was violated “knowing of the illegality of the process.”

The Supreme Court’s conviction had the dissenting vote of two of the five judges, who indicated that neither former President Griñán nor four other former high-ranking officials embezzled. Sentence It means, according to this particular vote, “a risky jump in the void”, since it attributes to the five accused that they were outside the Department of Employment “a possible fraud that is difficult to fit into the crime of embezzlement, with respect to a fraudulent result produced by third parties.” Neither the Treasury, which designed the Budgets, nor Innovation, which paid the amounts through the IDEA Agency, would have participated in the misappropriation of public money, according to these two judges. In this group would be Griñán, his deputy councilor Carmen Martínez Aguayo, former councilor Francisco Vallejo, his vice councilor Jesús María Rodríguez, and the former IDEA official Miguel Ángel Serrano.

He Last June, the Constitutional Court agreed to analyze whether the criminal procedure and the sentences handed down against the former presidents of the Junta de Andalucía Manuel Chaves and José Antonio Griñán and ten others convicted of the ERE plot in Andalusia represented any violation of their fundamental rights. Legal sources explained to THE NEWSPAPER OF SPAINfrom the Prensa Ibérica group, that the decision was adopted by four supports compared to two, those of the magistrates of the conservative sector César Tosa and Enrique Arnaldo, who voted against and They formulated a private vote. The resources of those convicted, in addition to those that have already been mentioned that have a prison sentence, were raised by the former president Manuel Chavesthe former Treasury Minister Magdalena Alvarezthe former advisor to the Presidency Gaspar Zarrías and the former vice-counselor Antonio Lozanoall convicted of prevarication.