Puigdemont demands to maintain immunity as MEP

Carles Puigdemont asks that they respect his parliamentary immunity. Photo EFE

The legal team of the Catalan independence leader and current MEP Carles Puigdemont presented this Friday before the European justice a request for a precautionary measure to suspend the lifting of his parliamentary immunity.

Puigdemont, accused in Spain of sedition and embezzlement for his role in the failed independence of Catalonia in 2017, was arrested a week ago in Sardinia, Italy, and must appear before the Italian justice on Monday.

A source from Puigdemont's team of lawyers explained to AFP on Friday that the demand for a "precautionary measure requests that the lifting of the legislative immunity" of the Catalan leader, approved by the European Parliament in March, be suspended.

As the lawsuit was presented in the form of a "precautionary and non-precautionary measure," the European Parliament and the government of Spain must be consulted, he explained.

The knot of the complex legal case lies in the interpretation of the validity of the European arrest warrants issued by Spain for the former Catalan president to be extradited.

In July, the General Court of the EU (TGUE) ruled that Puigdemont's parliamentary immunity was still suspended, but it also considered that the arrest warrants were temporarily without effect because the Spanish courts had filed "preliminary questions".

This determination of the TGUE allowed Puigdemont to travel without inconvenience to Strasbourg and Paris, in France, as an MEP, but last week, when he arrived in Sardinia, he was arrested, although a day later he was released.

On Thursday, the investigating judge of the case in Spain, Pablo Llarena, sent a document to the Italian justice where he insisted that the arrest warrants remain in force and that the Catalan leader should be arrested and extradited.

The source of the Puigdemont defense team told AFP on Friday that the demand for the day "does not affect the hearing on Monday" before the Italian justice, and confirmed that the Catalan leader will appear voluntarily.



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