European Parliament Votes To Strip Catalan MEPs Of Immunity

The European Parliament has voted to waive the legal immunity of former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont as well as two other Catalan separatist MEPs.

The three left Spain in 2017 following an illegal independence referendum which resulted in the arrest for sedition of several members of then regional government.

Nine Catalan leaders were subsequently sentenced to between 9 and 13 years in prison for their role in the independence vote.

In 2019 they stood and won regional Catalan seats in the European Parliamentary elections.

MEPs voted by 400 to 248 to remove their immunity with Spanish MEPs splitting along party lines for and against.
The governing coalition parties of PSOE and Podermos Unidas also at loggerheads over the vote.
Mr Puigdemont described the move as “a sad day for the European Parliament” and announced that the three MEPs will appeal the decision to the European Court of Justice.

“We have lost our immunity but the European Parliament has lost even more than that, as a result it has also lost European democracy,” he said.

All three are wanted by the Spanish authorities on the charges of sedition and misuse of public funds.

Spanish state prosecutors are likely to redouble their efforts to attempt their extradition from the Belgium authorities.

However in February a Belgian court rejected the Spanish government’s bid to extradite another former Catalan leader Lluís Puig, on the misuse of public funds charge.