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European Parliament lifts immunity of Catalonia MEPs, paving means for extradition to Spain over independence referendum

The European Parliament has voted to strip MEPs Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comin and Clara Ponsati of immunity, paving the way in which for his or her extradition to Spain over their roles within the outlawed 2017 Catalonia independence referendum.

The three politicians had been elected to the European Parliament in 2019, after having fled Spain two years earlier to keep away from arrest warrants for sedition, after they helped to prepare and run the 2017 independence referendum in Catalonia, regardless of it being banned by Spain’s central authorities.

Spain had requested the European Parliament to vote to strip the three politicians of immunity final yr however that vote had been postponed as a result of coronavirus pandemic.

Puigdemont misplaced his immunity in a 400-248 vote, whereas Comin and Ponsati misplaced their safety in a 404 to 247 poll, confirming a suggestion that was made by a European parliament committee final month.

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The committee’s report had laid out how the three people ought to lose their safety towards the fees filed by Spain, because the crimes they’re accused of committing occurred earlier than they took workplace and was unrelated to their work as MEPs.

The three people will now be vulnerable to being extradited again to Spain to face expenses, with the nations they’re at the moment looking for refuge in left to resolve whether or not to fulfil the judicial request from Spain. Puigdemont, the previous president of Catalonia, and Comin, the area’s former training minister, each reside in Belgium, whereas Ponsati, the ex-health minister, is at the moment dwelling in Scotland.

Spain is predicted to reactivate a European Arrest Warrant that had been issued for expenses of sedition and misuse of public funds, and to refer the case to the European Court docket of Justice.

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