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Exiled Catalan leader denied access to European Parliament

Carles Puigdemont, an exiled Catalan leader, has been denied access to the European Parliament after he was successfully elected as an MEP in the recent European election.  

Puigdemont told his supporters on Twitter that he, as well as Catalan minister Toni Comin,  were prohibited access to the parliament by the secretary-general. 

A parliamentary spokeswoman explained to reporters that parliament can only grant accreditation to MEPS once they had received the national lists which had the names of those elected; however, parliament may also issue temporary passes for new MEPs to enable meetings and ease the transition. 

She further indicated that because parliament had not received lists from Spanish authorities; the decision to not issue temporary passes was in part motivated by the ongoing political issues in Spain.

Puigdemont initially fled Spain in 2017 after Catalan’s secession referendum, which had been deemed illegal by Spanish courts. In early May of this year, a Spanish court enabled Puigdemont and other former Catalan leaders to run as MEP candidates despite attempts by the Spanish electoral body to blocked them from running as they did not reside in Spain.

This follows a UNWGAD (United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention) report which condemned the detention of Catalan separatists.  

Read more here, here and here.