Catalan exiled president Carles Puigdemont and former ministers Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí have filed an appeal against the European Parliament’s decision to waive their immunity as requested by the Spanish Supreme Court in their attempt to seek their extradition. The lawyers of all three MEPs filed the appeal yesterday evening at the European General Court (EGC).

This has been confirmed to VilaWeb by defense sources, who have added that this appeal will be accompanied by a request for precautionary measures so that their immunity is restored while the court decides on the matter. The European Parliament approved the petition to lift their immunity on 9 March but with strong political opposition: 42% of MEPs opposed it or abstained from voting.

The arguments of the defense are not yet known, but during the procedure the three Catalan MEPs explained to the parliamentary committee that this was a case of political persecution (fumus persecutionis), so the petition should not be passed. In fact, a large number of MEPs understood this, as reflected in the division of the plenary in the final vote.

This appeal opens a new judicial front at the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Spanish judge Pablo Llarena presented some prejudicial questions to the ECJ in order to prosecute Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí and try to prevent that the reactivated Euroorders ended with an extradition denial as in the case of Lluís Puig. The answers given by European justice will be decisive in determining what freedom of movement the exiles will have. And now this lawsuit filed yesterday against the decision of the European Parliament will also clarify whether MEPs can have their immunity protected in cases of political persecution.

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