The transfer may see Spain restart efforts to have separatist chief extradited to face trial.

The European Parliament (EP) has voted to strip immunity from the previous president of Spain’s Catalonia area, Carles Puigdemont, and two of his associates – a transfer that might pave the way in which for the political figures to be extradited.

The Brussels-based chamber on Tuesday introduced that 400 legislators had voted a day earlier for Puigdemont’s immunity from prosecution to be waived, whereas 248 had been in opposition to and 45 abstained.

The votes to carry the immunity of his associates – former Catalan well being minister Toni Comin and former regional schooling minister Clara Ponsati – had been by largely related margins.

Puigdemont and Comin, who’re in self-imposed exile in Belgium, formally turned members of the EP in June 2019, whereas Ponsati, who’s in Scotland, was formally a member from January 2020.

All are topic to European arrest warrants issued by Spain, which is in search of their extradition associated to their function in organising a 2017 independence referendum.

The referendum noticed a big majority vote for Catalonia’s secession from Spain, however the central authorities in Madrid had declared the vote unlawful and unconstitutional.

Tons of of individuals had been injured in a police crackdown on the day of the ballot.

Belgium has to this point denied Spain’s requests.

A court docket in January refused to extradite Lluis Puig, one other former member of the Catalan authorities dwelling in Belgium, over fees of misuse of public funds.

Varied independence leaders had been convicted in Spain of the identical cost of sedition in 2019 and sentenced to as much as 13 years in jail.

Earlier than Monday’s vote, the EP stated the alleged acts and prosecution pre-dated Puigdemont, Comin and Ponsati changing into MEPs.

It additionally stated it was for nationwide judicial techniques of EU international locations to find out prison proceedings.

The EP’s authorized affairs committee voted final month that immunity from prosecution must be waived. In every case, the vote was 15 in favour, eight in opposition to and two abstentions

Puigdemont’s authorized staff is planning to enchantment dropping his immunity to the European Courtroom of Justice in Luxembourg.

Spain’s international minister on Tuesday hailed the European Parliament’s determination, saying it confirmed the Catalonia situation was to be resolved inside Spain.

“With this determination, they’re sending out a triple message, firstly: an MEP can’t use their standing to guard themselves from showing in court docket for attainable breaches of nationwide legislation and a second message concerning the rule of legislation and respect for the Spanish justice system,” International Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya informed reporters.

“The third message is that the Catalonia downside should be resolved inside Spain and never at a European degree,” she added, saying Madrid was extending a hand to the political forces inside the area to “search an answer (to the independence disaster) by means of dialogue and negotiation”.