12:45 GMT27 November 2020
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont filed a complaint to the office of the European Ombudsman against European Parliament Speaker Antonio Tajani, who banned a conference organised by the legislature in which the Catalan politician was expected to participate, a spokesperson for Puigdemont's movement told Sputnik.

    "Carles Puigdemont addressed a formal complaint to the European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, denouncing censorship by the European Parliament and its president, Antonio Tajani, at a conference that the two democratically elected presidents of Catalonia were supposed to hold at the invitation of MEPs", a spokesperson for the Council for the Republic movement, which was created by Catalan pro-independence politicians, said.

    The text of the complaint, seen by Sputnik, states that the meeting did not pose any threat to security and public order, and the decision to ban the event was "ideological".

    The complaint comes after the European Parliament cancelled an event featuring Puigdemont in mid-February, citing "security considerations". Supporters of the politician, who is currently living in Brussels, eventually organised the meeting at a local hotel.

    READ MORE: Trial of Catalan Independence Leaders 'Stress Test' for Democracy — Puigdemont

    At the same time, the Supreme Court of Spain began hearings on the merits of the case regarding the Catalan referendum and the region's declaration of independence in October 2017. A total of 12 Catalan politicians are on trial, nine of whom — including former Catalan Vice President and leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia political party, Oriol Junqueras, and former speaker of Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell — have been charged with organising a coup. The prosecutor's office, state advocacy and the VOX party represent the prosecution in the trial.

    On 1 October 2017, Catalonia held an independence referendum, which resulted in over 90 percent of voters backing the region's autonomy. Madrid refused to recognise its results, but this did not preclude the Catalan parliament from declaring independence on 27 October of that year. This prompted the Spanish government to dismiss the regional authorities and impose direct rule over Catalonia. When the new Catalan government led by President Quim Torra came to power in June, Madrid restored the region's autonomy.


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