Parliament pulls plug on PAN MP’s immunity from prosecution
A sad day for Inês Sousa Real, but potentially also a very sad day for the freedom of MPs to speak their minds

Parliament pulls plug on PAN MP’s immunity from prosecution

Parliament this afternoon approved the lifting of immunity of the only MP representing PAN (Peoples Animal Nature party), Inês Sousa Real, so that she can face prosecution for alleged defamation. Ms Sousa Real’s ‘crime’ (as defamation remains under Portuguese law) is that she said on air that veterinarian Joaquim Grave, a defender of bullfighting, has written doctoral theses “in which he recognises that bulls suffer”. Mr Grave objected to her statements, hence the case for defamation. Ms Sousa Real has lamented the way her fellow public servants turned on her (the only party that voted against the lifting of immunity was PSD social democrats), saying the vote today “went against the principle of freedom to exercise a parliamentary mandate”. Indeed, it would seem to represent “an attempt at coercion and political silencing that the Assembly of the Republic has the moral and ethical-legal obligation to promptly reject”, she said.