An adviser to the European Court of Justice said, a jailed Catalan separatist leader elected to the European Parliament while in detention had the right to ask lawmakers to decide whether to uphold his immunity.
The advice from Advocate General Maciej Szpunar is a boost for the Catalan separatist movement and Oriol Junqueras, who was voted into the European Parliament in May despite being detained in Spain since 2017 after an illegal independence referendum.
Junqueras, the Catalan government’s former deputy leader, was sentenced to 13 years in prison in October.
Szpunar said Junqueras’s conviction had brought to an end his mandate, but that he had been tried and convicted without the European Parliament having been given the opportunity to decide on his immunity.
Szpunar advised the court that the parliament should be able to decide whether to waive or defend the immunity of one of its members (MEP).
That immunity means an MEP cannot be subject to detention or legal proceedings because of the views expressed or votes cast, although it does not apply for an MEP who has committed an offence.