The European Parliament voted to strip the parliamentary immunity of three Catalan MEPs who’re dealing with sedition expenses in Spain for his or her roles in organizing a 2017 independence referendum, in response to outcomes introduced Tuesday.
The vote in favor of lifting the immunity from prosecution for the previous regional president Carles Puigdemont, in addition to a former well being official, Antoni Comín, and a former training official, Clara Ponsatí, was broadly anticipated. It’s also unlikely to resolve their authorized saga.
Two Belgian courts have blocked the extradition of a fourth former Catalan official, Lluis Puig, and prosecutors have declined to enchantment additional, basically leaving a precedent in place that ought to defend the three MEPs. Their instances have been on maintain pending the choice on immunity.
A Belgian appeals courtroom upheld a decrease courtroom ruling that Spain’s Supreme Court docket didn’t have correct jurisdiction to situation an EU arrest warrant, and that there was additionally a danger Puig wouldn’t profit from a presumption of innocence if returned to Spain and subsequently would undergo a violation of basic rights.
The Spanish authorities moved aggressively to prosecute instances associated to the 2017 referendum and a few former officers have been convicted of sedition and sentenced to as much as 13 years in jail. However the crackdown has performed little to dampen the independence motion in Catalonia and pro-independence events as soon as once more received a majority in regional elections final month.
Within the case of Puigdemont, the result of the vote, which occurred Monday night, was 400 in favor of lifting immunity to 248 towards with 45 abstentions.
In recommending a vote in favor of eradicating immunity, the Committee on Authorized Affairs famous that it was less than Parliament to guage the benefit of the costs, however merely to evaluate that the authorized instances weren’t dropped at intrude with their work in Parliament. That was clear, the committee, stated as a result of the efforts to arrange the independence referendum occurred earlier than any of the three have been elected, when their “standing as a member of the European Parliament was nonetheless hypothetical.”
In some ways, the vote to strip immunity solely highlighted the extent to which Puigdemont, Comín, and Ponsatí have managed to show Spain’s regional battle over Catalonia right into a headache for EU establishments and member international locations by successful seats within the European Parliament and fleeing to Belgium.
On the similar time, following final month’s elections, the fugitive Catalan MEPs face the chance that their motion goes ahead with out them. Pere Aragonès, the present regional chief, and his Catalonia’s Republican Left (ERC) social gathering are making ready to type a pro-independence authorities and have rejected any partnership with the social-democratic social gathering of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, whilst Madrid has dangled the opportunity of pardons for convicted Catalan politicians.