A tale of two prisoners: It’s who you know

A tale of two prisoners: It’s who you know

From Spain this week comes a topical tale of two convicts currently serving time in His Majesty’s prisons.

Iñaki Liebaert, sentenced to five years and 10 months, having been found guilty of fraud, embezzlement, and tax evasion — rackets in which he pocketed €6m in public money — was granted a four-day Christmas pass, freeing him to spend the holiday with his family.

The other offender is Oriol Junqueras, a former vice president of Catalonia, who was jailed in October for his part in organising what the government insisted was an illegal secessionist referendum.

Sedition and misuse of public funds were his alleged crimes. His Christmas was spent behind bars, along with those of his co-conspirators who did not succeed in reaching the safety of exile in Belgium and Scotland.

A European Court of Justice ruling that, having been elected an MEP in May, Junqueras has parliamentary immunity and should be freed has been ignored by the Spain’s justice ministry.

What could explain the difference in the way these two men have been treated?

Could it be at all possible that at least one of the reasons is that Mr Liebaert is the king of Spain’s brother-in-law, while Mr Junqueras is not?

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