Spain court revokes European arrest warrant for Catalonia's Carles Puigdemont

06 December, 2017, 01:19 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Spanish Supreme Court withdraws Carles Puigdemont international arrest warrant

Spain's Supreme Court on Tuesday withdrew global arrest warrants for former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and four ex-cabinet members.

After receiving a request to free the 10 Catalan leaders, Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena decided there was a risk that Junqueras and three others would repeat their alleged offences if released.

Tuesday's action leaves Puigdemont and the ex-officials with two options - return to Spain and be arrested or remain in self-imposed exile.

The group were fighting extradition from Belgium to Spain, where they face rebellion, sedition and embezzlement charges that can be punished with decades in prison under the country's criminal laws.

The announcement came a day after a Belgian judge postponed for a second time, until December 14, a ruling on whether to honor the warrant request.

Along with Puigdemont and his ministers in Brussels, all eight are under investigation for rebellion, which can carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Puigdemont fled to Belgium after the failure of his attempt to secure independence for the autonomous Spanish region following a referendum on October 1.




Catalan separatist parties that tried to break away from Spain would lose their absolute majority in regional parliament in elections later this month, an influential opinion poll showed Monday.

The decision does not mean that Puigdemont, who faces charges of rebellion, would not be arrested if he returned to Spain, where he is still wanted by judicial authorities.

There is also a question that if the former leaders were returned to Spain, it could violate their human rights, under European Union law, based on political discrimination.

That's one week before the regional election in which Puigdemont is leading his pro-independence party's ticket as its presidential candidate.

Independence never materialised, however, as Madrid sacked the Catalan government after the declaration on Oct 27, imposed direct rule on the once semi-autonomous region and called elections for Dec 21 in a bid to "restore normality". Puigdemont would be arrested if he went to Spain, he said.

The judge's decision follows mounting concerns among Spanish legal experts that the Belgian judiciary could in effect limit the range of crimes for which Mr. Puigdemont and the others could be put on trial if brought back to Madrid from Brussels.

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