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Brussels considers whether to lift Puigdemont's parliamentary immunity

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Catalonia's former regional president and MEP Carles Puigdemont listens during a session in the Plenary chamber of the European Parliament in Brussels
Catalonia's former regional president and MEP Carles Puigdemont listens during a session in the Plenary chamber of the European Parliament in Brussels   -   Copyright  Credit: AP photos
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The European Parliament (EP) returned to consider on Monday whether to lift the parliamentary immunity of former Catalonia leader Carles Puigdemont.

Puigdemont's hearing — along with two other Catalan separatists — was suspended for seven months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Puigdemont fled in 2017 after Spain issued a warrant to arrest him for his part in what Madrid deemed an illegal Catalan independence referendum. He ended up in Belgium and has been an MEP since being elected in 2019.

The EP's legal affairs committee is considering lifting his immunity — which prevents Madrid from asking for his extradition — at the request of Spain. Madrid has asked for the same for two other pro-independence MEPs, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí.

Following Monday's meeting, the committee will sit again on December 7, where the three MEPs will be able to speak.

If their immunity is lifted, which could take four months, Spain would be able to ask for extradition again. Belgian and the Scottish judges, the countries of residence of the three MEPs, would then decide.

Spain's high court wants the Catalan politicians to be tried for sedition, embezzlement and disobedience for their participation on the 2017 referendum.