Wednesday May 25, 2022
Wednesday May 25, 2022

EU lawmakers lift the immunity of 3 Catalan separatists

2021 Mar 09, 14:15, BRUSSELS
FILE - In this Monday Jan. 13, 2020 file photo, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont reacts during a press conference at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. Catalonia’s former regional president Carles Puigdemont says that he will continue to fight extradition back to Spain if, as he expects, the European Union Parliament strips him of his immunity as a continental lawmaker this week. On Monday March 8, 2021, Puigdemont, along with cohorts Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí, face a vote by the European Parliament to lift their immunity as lawmakers as has been recommended by the parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias, File)

The European Parliament on Tuesday voted to lift the immunity of the former president of Spain’s Catalonia region, Carles Puigdemont, and two of his associates, a move that could pave the way for their extradition.

In the decision on Puigdemont, 400 legislators voted for the waiver of immunity, 248 were against and 45 abstained.

The measures to lift the immunity of his associates — former Catalan health minister Toni Comin and former regional education minister Clara Ponsati — were by largely similar margins.

Puigdemont and a number of his colleagues fled to Belgium in October 2017, fearing arrest after holding an independence referendum for the northeastern region of Catalonia that the Spanish government said was illegal.

In 2019, Puigdemont, Comin and Ponsati won seats in the European Parliament and were afforded protection as members of the EU assembly.

Puigdemont’s legal team is planning to appeal losing his immunity to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

The parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee had already voted 15-8 with two abstentions last month to recommend waiving their immunity.

European Parliament Spain Catalonia Puidgemont immunity Luxembourg European Court of Justice Legal Affairs Committee

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