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European elections, Ilaria Salis has been elected: what happens now

“I’m ready to fight.” These are the first words of Ilaria Salis, spoken on the phone to Nicola Fratoianni, secretary of the Italian Left who immediately wanted her on the list, as soon as she was informed that she had been elected MEP with the Green Alliance and the Left. She said them from her apartment in Budapest, Hungary where she is serving the house arrest granted to her after a fourteen-month detention in a Hungarian prison. The charge for which you are currently on trial in Hungary is that of attacking two neo-Nazi militants in Budapest. The images of the activist brought to court with chains on her wrists and ankles sparked the indignation of many of her, convincing in particular the secretary of the Italian Left to propose her candidacy, «because in those chains there was a piece of European history».

Now a new story could begin for Ilaria Salis. The first possible scenario is that ofparliamentary immunity European once his election is confirmed. Specifically, the candidate exceeded 170 thousand votes between the North-West and the South, therefore according to the provisions of Protocol 7 on the «Privileges and immunities of the European Union», she could be released from prison and the trial against her suspended. Furthermore, according to what Salis’ lawyers argue, the rule is retroactive and would also apply to events that occurred before the election. «From tonight Ilaria is a member of the European Parliament», Fratoianni exulted. “From here we send you a hug, the battle for democracy begins today: it will be even stronger”, added the secretary of the Greens, Angelo Bonelli.

In case of immunity, Ilaria Salis could probably return to Italy, in fact, according to the provisions of Protocol 7, no administrative obstacles or obstacles to freedom of movement can be placed. ‘No administrative or other restrictions shall be placed on the freedom of movement of Members of the European Parliament traveling to or returning from the place of meeting of the European Parliament.’ This does not mean that the charges against him would be dropped, in fact the Hungarian court could request the European Parliament to initiate the procedure for the revocation of immunity, which could not be applied in the event of flagrant crime. This could be one of the main obstacles for the situation of the MEP, Hungary claims to be in possession of a video that would show Ilaria Salis’ guilt.

«The citizens have chosen Ilaria, now the issue is what happens from now until she finally returns to Italy”, commented Ilaria Salis’ father, Roberto, who toured all over Italy bringing his daughter’s story to the streets and campaigning for her. «We have an MEP with a good amount of preferences, many citizens have chosen her. Now we need to understand how the Italian institutions will work to ensure that the will of the Italians is respected as it should be.”

Source: Vanity Fair

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