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MEPs must vote against lifting Carles Puigdemont's immunity | View

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MEPs will on Monday (March 8) vote on whether to lift the parliamentary immunity of their Spanish colleagues Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí.

The undersigned, former Members of the European Parliament, call on current MEPs who are to take part in this vote, to reject this proposal and come out in favour of protecting the immunity of the trio.

First, because the Spanish Supreme Court, which requested that their immunity be waivered, is not the competent authority to make the request, as it was argued before the EU Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI). It's also not an impartial court, as recently established by the Brussels Court of Appeals which found that Lluís Puig, a former minister of the Catalan Government now in exile, could not be impartially judged by this Spanish Court.

Second, there is evidence that these three MEPs are being politically persecuted. This political persecution is based on evidence, such as the judicial obstacles to prevent them from running in the European elections, the presence of up to five Spanish MEPs on the JURI Committee and their public statements on the report before, during, and after the vote; the inclusion of wrong charges in the report of Clara Ponsatí; or the leaking of the report before the vote to a far-right newspaper in Spain.

It is not a question of supporting the ideas defended by Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí;
The undersigned
Former Members of the European Parliament

This political persecution, which in itself should be enough to ensure that the legal rights of these Members of the European Parliament remain intact, was further confirmed in the above-mentioned judgment of the Belgian courts in the case of the Catalan Minister in exile, Lluís Puig. The Court opposed his extradition to Spain, arguing that if extradited to Spain, Mr Puig would not be treated impartially or in alignment with his rights as a European citizen.

Similarly, the High Court of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany denied the extradition of Mr Puigdemont for the charges of rebellion or sedition because they considered the organisation of a peaceful referendum could not constitute such crimes.

It is not a question of supporting the ideas defended by Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí; it is about defending parliamentary immunity against the justice system of a Member State that has proved its willingness to persecute those who organised a referendum so that the citizens of Catalonia could freely express their opinion. It is important to remember, that members of the Government of Catalonia and two civil society leaders were given sentences that amounted to a total of 100 years in prison for this reason.

Therefore, we ask Members of the European Parliament to oppose the request for the waiver of the parliamentary immunity of Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí, by voting no to the Committee’s proposal, and thus to oppose the goal of an authoritarian justice system that persecutes democratic and peaceful political dissent.

Signatories

  • Christian Allard (Scotland)
  • Martina Anderson (Ireland)
  • Maria Badia (Catalonia)
  • José Bové (France)
  • Lynn Boylan (Ireland)
  • Frieda Brepoels (Flanders)
  • Bairbre de Brún (Ireland)
  • Matt Carthy (Ireland)
  • Daniel Cohn-Bendit (Germany)
  • Birgit Daiber (Germany)
  • Mark Demesmaeker (Flanders)
  • Jann D’haene (Flanders)
  • Jill Evans (Wales)
  • Elena Forenza (Italy)
  • Ives Frémion (France)
  • Per Gahrton (Sweden)
  • Carlos Garaikoetxea (Basque Country)
  • Ana Gomes (Portugal)
  • Koldo Gorostiaga (Basque Country)
  • Rebecca Harms (Germany)
  • Iñaki Irazabalbeitia (Basque Country)
  • Bernat Joan (Catalonia)
  • Oriol Junqueras (Catalonia)
  • Gorka Knörr (Catalonia)
  • Marije Kornelissen (Holanda)
  • Karmelo Landa (Basque Country)
  • Alain Lipietz (France)
  • Sander Loones (Flanders)
  • Nelly Maes (Flanders)
  • Ernest Maragall (Catalonia)
  • Antonio Marinho Pinto (Portugal)
  • Ana Miranda (Galicia)
  • Miroslav Mitrofanov (Latvia)
  • Liadh Ní Riada (Ireland)
  • Camilo Nogueira (Galicia)
  • Gérard Onesta (France)
  • Marie Pierre Vieu (France)
  • Teresa Rodríguez (Andalusia)
  • Raül Romeva (Catalonia)
  • Frank Schwalba-Hoth (Germany)
  • Jordi Sebastià (Valencian Country)
  • Lídia Senra (Galicia)
  • Max Simeoni (Corsica)
  • Barbara Spinelli (Italy)
  • Bart Staes (Flanders)
  • Helga Stevens (Flanders)
  • Indrek Tarand (Estonia)
  • Josep Maria Terricabras (Catalonia)
  • Ramon Tremosa (Catalonia)
  • Ivo Vajgl (Slovenia)
  • Bodil Valero (Sweden)
  • Joan Vallvé (Catalonia)
  • Jaak Vandemeulebroucke (Flanders)
  • Aneelen Van Bossuyt (Flanders)