European Parliament Hemicycle with a giant TV Studio from where the broadcast of the results of the European Elections were aired. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

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Three new Euro MPs draw ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ cards

Some fresh Members of the European Parliament breathed sighs of relief after being elected; at least three of them have seen their prosecutions halted


Some fresh Members of the European Parliament breathed sighs of relief after being elected; at least three of them have seen their prosecutions halted.

Alternative for Germany’s (AfD) Petr Bystron is embroiled in a scandal where Czech intelligence services have accused him of receiving bribes from Russia.

In his native Germany, the Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating him.

But, due to his election to the European Parliament, the hard-right politician will enjoy immunity. Bystron was MP in Germany although his immunity there was lifted in May. The Public Prosecutor’s Office will soon have to interrupt the alleged corruption investigation regarding Bystron, Der Spiegel reported. German investigators can only continue the proceedings against him if his newly earned EP immunity is revoked.

Another politician potentially escaping the long arm of the law is Ilaria Salis.

The Italian anti-fascist was arrested in February 2023 and detained in Hungary, risking years in prison, on accusations of violently attacking an attendee with a hammer at a far-right “Day of Honour” demonstration in Budapest.

Her detention sparked outrage across Europe when she was brought before a judge in January with her hands and feet shackled, according to Hungary Today.

She was placed under house arrest but will likely be freed given her EP victory.

Salis received broad support on the hard-left and got herself a spot on the list with Italy’s Greens and Left Alliance. She then was elected to the EP, earning her parliamentary immunity and in all probability freedom.

When the results became known, she wrote on her Instagram account: “I still can’t believe it or describe my emotions. I can never thank enough all the people who supported me with their votes.

“My first thought goes to all the people detained in Italy and abroad and their rights. To anyone who fights for freedom and equality and finds themselves suffering injustice.

“Anti-fascism as well as a human value and a political perspective, it is also a resilient and supportive community,” she said.

“We have demonstrated that solidarity is not an empty slogan, but something concrete and tangible. A power that, if we believe in it and if we want, can truly improve the world.”

Another new MEP set to gain protection is the ethnic Greek Fredi Beleri.

Elected as the Mayor of Himare in Southern Albania last year, Beleri found himself embroiled in controversy after being arrested on charges of vote-buying just days before assuming office.

He won the support of the centre-right Greek New Democracy Party, which placed him on its European candidate list while being in jail.

The Greek people supported Beleri and he got 237,925 votes in the EP elections over June 6-9, despite not being able to canvas. He was the fourth-most popular candidate on the New Democracy’s election list.

“Throughout the months of my adventure, I was strengthened by my belief that light always wins over darkness,” Beleri said from prison after the EP contest.

“The power of democracy can sweep away any usurpation, as long as there is the will and faith in a higher purpose,” he added.

As both Salis and Beleris are currently under arrest, it might take some time for paperwork to be sorted allowing them to walk free and join their new colleagues in Brussels and Strasbourg. That may mean them missing the EP’s opening ceremonies over the coming days.

All three of the accused deny wrongdoing.