Regular readers will remember Frank Vanhecke, the Belgian MEP and member of Vlaams Belang who has been targeted by the Brussels establishment for his support of Flemish independence and his opposition to the Islamization of Flanders.
Last fall the European Parliament voted to revoke his parliamentary immunity so that he could be prosecuted by the Belgian authorities for his “racism”. It was an outright attempt at political intimidation, and a move to end Mr. Vanhecke’s political career in Belgium.
The latest word is that Frank Vanhecke has decided to fight the lifting of his parliamentary immunity on procedural grounds. According to yesterday’s De Standaard, as translated by our Flemish correspondent VH:
Frank Vanhecke will fight against the lifting of immunity
Frank Vanhecke, a member of the European Parliament for Vlaams Belang and VB’s former chairman, will appeal against the lifting of his parliamentary immunity by the European parliament at the end of 2008. He has started a procedure with the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, Frank Vanhecke reported Thursday.
On November 28, 2008 the European Parliament decided to remove the parliamentary immunity of Frank Vanhecke. This happened after a complaint from the mayor of Sint-Niklaas, Freddy Willockx (SP.A [Flemish Socialist Party]) against Vanhecke, as the then-responsible editor of the local party leaflet. In an article in this leaflet immigrants were wrongly identified as perpetrators of vandalism [note: Vanhecke, who was not the writer of the article, was the editor in those days].
“The internal rules of the European Parliament provide that the waiver of immunity for an MP should be debated in a plenary session of parliament,” Vanhecke states. Despite the demands of the Vlaams Belang, there was no debate. Following the advice of his lawyers Frank Vanhecke came to the conclusion that the European parliament had violated European treaties.
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“Under these treaties, all European institutions, including the European Parliament, have to comply with their internal rules of procedure, and also fundamental human rights, among which is the right to a fair trial,” says Vanhecke.
Therefore he filed a request with the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, in particular the Court of First Instance, to nullify the decision to lift his immunity, “and thus at least make possible an open debate with all the arguments pro and contra”.
For more background on Frank Vanhecke’s case, see these previous posts about Bart Debie and Frank Vanhecke: