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The former leader of Catalonia promises to continue to fight against extradition to Spain

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Former Catalonian regional president Carles Puigdemont has vowed to continue fighting for his return to Spain if the European Parliament strips him of his immunity as a lawmaker this week.

Puigdemont երկու Two Catalan separatists won seats in the European Parliament in 2019, two years after fleeing Spain, as they led a failed attempt to secede from Catalonia, which Spain considered illegal.

On Monday, Puigdemonti, along with Tony Comini and Clara Ponsati, are expected to vote in the European Parliament as legislators to lift their immunity, as proposed by the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs.

“We are thinking about all the scenarios, obviously even the fact that we will lose our immunity, which is likely to happen,” Puchdemont told the Associated Press on Saturday evening from his residence in Waterloo, Belgium. “But we know that will not be the end of the road.”

The lifting of their immunity will allow Spain to pursue their extradition again, as soon as the separatist leaders who remained in Spain were brought to justice, found guilty of rioting and misusing state funds for the 2017 secession bid.

So far, the courts of Belgium, Germany and Britain have refused to send Puigdemont back to his colleagues on grounds of delay at the request of Spain. Famous convictions in Spain mean they will be arrested immediately if they try to return home.

Puchdemont said that in addition to resisting in national courts, the three would “take our case to the European Court of Justice”.

Puigdemont appealed to fellow lawmakers, arguing that his work was shared by other minorities in the larger European nations.

“The question is, is political persecution accepted? “If political minorities, nationalists and dissidents have the same rights as others to be represented, to pursue politics, they will vote for it,” Puchdemont said.

The EU Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee did not see any threat of political persecution when it analyzed their case last month.

In October 2017, the regional government of Puigdemont ignored warnings from Spain’s highest courts that holding an independence referendum was unconstitutional. In any case, they pushed forward,: hundreds of people were injured as a result of police actions on election day. The separatist party won the vote by a landslide, while the majority of trade unionists did not vote.

Subsequent official elections have repeatedly shown that Catalan voters are equally divided over secession.

Following a declaration of independence that had no practical effect, Puigdemont fled Spain to Brussels before prosecutors could issue an arrest warrant.

Spanish courts have handed down damaging corruption verdicts against the conservative Popular People’s Party, which led Spain in 2017, and are investigating alleged financial crimes by former King Juan Carlos I. Even so, Puigdemont believes that Spanish courts are not impartial when it comes to Catalan separatist cases.

“In Spain, the courts have no political interests,” he said. “The justice system is clearly biased, we are to blame for the start of any trial.”

Despite the setback in his work, Puigdemont sees that the movement he has supported is in a strong position after separatist parties retained a majority in the last parliamentary elections in Barcelona.

He said that “sooner or later there will be another opportunity.” “We have to learn our lessons. We must accumulate power, we must be well prepared. “

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