The Council of Europe will look into the situation of political prisoners in both Spain and Turkey, after some 20 representatives requested it in January. In their petition, they said they are “concerned about the growing number of national, regional and local politicians prosecuted for statements made in the exercise of their mandate, in particular in Spain and Turkey.”

After accepting this motion, the legal affairs and human rights committee of the supranational body will now write a report on their situation.

The request also mentioned that, according to the Committee of Venice, the parliamentary immunity’s main aim is to protect chambers and their elected members. “[It] is necessary for [MPs] to exercise their democratic functions effectively without fear of interference from the executive or judiciary,” the text reads. “Their freedom of speech has to be a wide one and should be protected also when they speak outside Parliament”.

“This applies also, and especially, to parliamentarians who belong to the opposition and whose ideas differ strongly from those of the majority”, the motion passed also said.