Clara Ponsati: Removal of immunity from MEP facing extradition challenged by lawyers

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Clara Ponsati: Removal of immunity from MEP facing extradition challenged by lawyers

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Clara Ponsati is charged with sedition for her role in the unapproved independence referendum in Catalonia in 2017.

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Ms. Ponsati, an academic from St Andrews University, became MEP after Spain won five seats in the European Parliament when the UK left the EU in January 2019.

Clara Ponsati is charged with sedition for her role in the unapproved independence referendum in Catalonia in 2017Clara Ponsati is charged with sedition for her role in the unapproved independence referendum in Catalonia in 2017

This granted her and former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and former Catalan Health Minister Toni Comin, who also became an MEP, protection as members of the EU Assembly.

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Ms. Ponsati could be sentenced to 15 years in prison if convicted. Nine other Catalan officials were sentenced to between nine and 13 years in prison for the same offense in autumn 2019.

The European Parliament voted on March 9 to lift her MEP immunity – along with the other two – but the Sheriff Court in Edinburgh heard on Tuesday that she plans to challenge the decision.

Ms. Ponsati’s attorney, Claire Mitchell QC, told the court that the “trial was ongoing”.

She said: “An action for annulment should be brought against the decision of the European Parliament to lift MEPs immunity by May 19th. Unfortunately, we don’t know how long this process will take. “

She said there had been a referral to the European Court of Justice.

She told the court: “Regardless of any decision that may be made in the future, a hearing will be required in this case. This matter should be discussed in this court. “

Sheriff Nigel Ross said there is currently “no legal obstacle to these legal proceedings”.

Ms. Ponsati appeared at the hearing via video link from Belgium, as agreed with the court.

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