EXILED former Catalunya president Carles Puigdemont who organised an illegal independence referendum in 2017 has had his immunity from prosecution stripped by the European Parliament.

MEP Puigdemont and two fellow Catalan separatist colleagues, Toni Comin and Clara Ponsati, fled Spain after authorities wanted to charge them with sedition.

Nine Catalan politicians were jailed in 2019 over their part in organising the unsanctioned independence referendum.

Puigdemont, Comin, and Ponsati are the subject of European Arrest Warrants, but a number of attempts to extradite them have failed.

The ex-Catalan president and Comin live in Belgium, while Ponsati’s new home is in Scotland.

The European Parliament vote now opens up the door for Madrid to try again once the legal process is exhausted.

That involves all three MEPs launching an appeal to the European Court of Justice.

At a news conference, Carles Puigdemont said:It’s a sad day for the European Parliament. We have lost our immunity, but the European Parliament has lost even more than that, as a result it has also lost European democracy.”

Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said the parliament’s verdict was a ‘sign of respect for the Spanish justice system’.

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