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EU parliament strips Puigdemont, two Catalan MEPs of immunity from prosecution

Kusai Kedri
Press TV, Barcelona

Catalonia's pro-independence civil society has taken to the European Commission's Office in Barcelona to protest a vote in the EU parliament to strip three Catalan MEPs of their immunity from prosecution. The MEPs are wanted in Spain for organizing the 2017 illegal referendum on independence.

The EU parliament vote to strip Catalonia MEPs of their immunity came as no surprise to politicians in Barcelona and Madrid. The vote cast Monday and held secret till Tuesday morning was backed by 400 European lawmakers. 248 voted against it and 45 abstained.

The decision was welcome news for Spain which is seeking the extradition of the former president of Catalonia and his aides for sedition and misuse of public funds.

Catalonia's pro-independence civil society groups believe the decision is a major setback for European democratic institutions.

The European Parliament argues the prosecution of Puigdemont and aides pre-dates their entry to the euro-chamber, an argument that hardly resonates among the separatists who point to the increasing support for their case among EU lawmakers. 

The European vote revealed deep division within the coalition government in Madrid after junior partner Podemos decided to vote against lifting the immunity for Puigdemont, Comin and Ponsati.

Puigdemont's lieutenant in Catalonia Monday noted that the strategy of the separatists to take the conflict to the world stage is beginning to bear fruit.

As Spain mulls issuing new arrest warrants for the three Catalan MEPs, their defense team have vowed to take the case to the European justice.

All eyes are now on the European Court of Justice where the next legal battle will play out, much to the discomfort of EU member State which seem increasingly embroiled the Catalan case for independence.

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