- Title: Puigdemont demands immediate release of Junqueras after EU court ruling
- Date: 19th December 2019
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (DECEMBER 19, 2019) (REUTERS) FORMER CATALAN REGIONAL PRESIDENT CARLES PUIGDEMONT AND FORMER CATALAN LEADER TOMI COMIN, BOTH IN SELF-IMPOSED EXILE, ARRIVING AT NEWS CONFERENCE PUIGDEMONT AND COMIN LISTENING TO JOURNALIST (SOUNDBITE) (Catalan) FORMER CATALAN REGIONAL LEADER, CARLES PUIGDEMONT, SAYING: "Oriol (Junqueras) should be released immediately. The malpractice of Spanish justice during the "process" (Catalan independence bid) and the conviction of Catalan leaders have to be investigated. The process is loaded with irregularities, violations of fundamental rights and the sentence should be annulled immediately." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Catalan) FORMER CATALAN REGIONAL LEADER, CARLES PUIGDEMONT, SAYING: "Today the European justice has said, 'Enough. Don't follow that path, that is not how things are done in Europe.' The happiness today does not belong to us, it is shared with the more than two million European citizens that voted for Oriol Junqueras, Toni Comin and myself, but above all the (happiness) of millions and millions of European citizens who suffered the consequences of a democratic regression so severe wanted by Spain and accepted by the European Parliament under the former presidency of Antonio Tajani." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Catalan) FORMER CATALAN REGIONAL LEADER, CARLES PUIGDEMONT, SAYING: "There are more than enough political opportunities, and we will make the most of them. We invite Spain and European institutions to give up on repression, in the case of the former, and stop complacency in the case of the latter, and start mediation to negotiate. Catalonia's conflict was from the first day a European issue and it is still a European issue and it has to be resolved within Europe." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER CATALAN REGIONAL LEADER, CARLES PUIGDEMONT, SAYING: "We want to insist and will not stop demanding that Oriol Junqueras must be freed immediately, that an investigation be conducted into the malpractice of the Spanish justice system throughout the Catalan pro-independence process and the trial of the Catalan leaders, characterised by irregularities and the violation of fundamental rights, and the sentence be annulled immediately." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER CATALAN REGIONAL LEADER, CARLES PUIGDEMONT, SAYING: "More than two years after using exile as a platform from which to defend our rights, the European justice system has provided the guarantee of protection of the fundamental values of democracy that we have always expected and place our trust in." JOURNALIST ASKING QUESTION (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER CATALAN REGIONAL LEADER, CARLES PUIGDEMONT, SAYING: "This is a political conflict that can only be resolved from democracy, recognising of the parties involved, and negotiation. We also ask European institutions to assume their responsibility in the search for a negotiated and fair solution." JOURNALISTS / PUIGDEMONT AND COMIN AT PODIUM
- Embargoed: 2nd January 2020 19:07
- Keywords: Carles Puigdemont Catalonia EU court ruling on immunity MEP Oriol Junqueras Toni Comin immunity independence jailed leaders
- Location: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- City: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA001BAN8E2V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Catalonia's former leader in self-imposed exile Carles Puigdemont demanded the immediate release of his former deputy after the EU's top court on Thursday (December 19) ruled Oriol Junqueras was entitled to immunity as a member of the European Parliament.
Junqueras was jailed for 13 years in October for his role in a 2017 Catalan independence referendum that was deemed illegal by Spanish courts. He was elected an MEP while in prison awaiting the verdict, and has not been able to take up his seat.
But the EU court ruled anyone elected to the European Parliament "enjoys immunities" to travel and take part in parliamentary sessions and an MEP cannot be subject to detention or legal proceedings because of views expressed or votes cast.
Puigdemont and another member of his former government, Toni Comi, addressed journalists in Brussels on the European court's decision, calling it "historic".
Both Puigdemont and Comin live in self-imposed exiled in Brussels as they are wanted by the Spanish courts due to their role in the northeastern region's failed independence drive and were, like Junuqeras, elected MEPs in the May European election.
(Production: Christian Levaux, Catherine Macdonald)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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