LIFTING the immunity of three Catalan MEPs makes the European Parliament “complicit” in Spain’s abuse of human rights, one of their lawyers has said.

Aamer Anwar, who is acting for former Catalan minister and St Andrews University Professor Clara Ponsati, was speaking after the European Parliament voted to revoke her parliamentary immunity, along with that of former president Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comin, another former minister. The exiled trio are wanted in Spain for their part in the October 2017 independence push.

Spain immediately welcomed the parliament’s decision, claiming it was a victory for the rule of law.

However, Ponsati’s Scottish lawyer Aamer Anwar, who fought off a bid to have her extradited from Scotland, said the European legislature had set a “very dangerous precedent”.

He said: “This vote to lift the immunity of the Catalan MEPs makes the European Parliament complicit in Spain’s abuse of fundamental human rights.

“By bending the will of parliament to the needs of Spain, Europe has set a very dangerous precedent for any other rogue state which wishes to attack democracy.

“Clara Ponsati has committed no crime save that of defending the fundamental human rights of the Catalan people and their right to vote.

“It is abhorrent that any politician should face imprisonment in the heart of Europe for carrying out the democratic will of the people. This is certainly not the end of the matter and will be fought legally to the highest levels.”

As the trio prepared to mount their appeals, seven of their nine colleagues who were jailed for up to 13 years for their part in the referendum, have been stripped of their privileges in prison.

The male prisoners, including former vice president Oriol Junqueras, were classed as third-degree, or low-risk inmates, and only had to spend Monday to Thursday nights in their cells.

However, a penitentiary court removed their permits for the second time after they were challenged by prosecutors, and yesterday they returned to jail.