44 members of the European Parliament, including Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín, have sent a letter to the chamber's president, David Sassoli, asking him to reinstate Catalan politician Oriol Junqueras as an MEP. They base their argument on December's ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union, a decision opposed by Spanish authorities.
The letter, signed mostly by members of Greens/EFA, but also members of three other groups, criticises Sassoli for accepting the veto from the Spanish courts over Junqueras, arguing it "undermines the sovereignty of the Chamber and its ability to decide on the immunity of its Members". It describes the decision as "regrettable".
They go on to say it's an "alarming precedent" and that it "violates the principles and values that inspire the European project." As such, they call on the Parliament to "defend the institution by protecting the immunity of Junqueras as a Member" as "only the European Parliament [...] can lift the immunity of one of its Members."
The letter is copied to Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez, who they ask to "enforce the ruling of the CJEU by taking all measures available, including all possible legal means, to free Oriol Junqueras and to protect his civil and political rights as an elected European representative."
Meanwhile, a delegation of nine MEPs will this Thursday visit Junqueras, and the other male pro-independence Catalan prisoners, in Lledoners prison, and Carme Forcadell in Mas d'Enric. It will be the fourth time a group from the European Parliament has visited them. They are all members of the EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform which aims to promote dialogue and a political solution to the conflict.