Spanish court rejects issuing European Union arrest warrant for Puigdemont

Emilio Banks
January 24, 2018

Puigdemont is trying to return to his position as Catalan's president after the region's snap election in December saw secessionist parties retaining their majority in parliament and hopes to read his speech in the regional parliament debates with the help of one of his MPs.

The speaker of Catalonia's parliament has proposed former regional leader Carles Puigdemont as candidate to form a government, despite his status as a fugitive from Spanish justice. "It's time to end their oppression and find a political solution for Catalonia".

The Catlonia leader and five of his ex-ministers all traveled to Belgium following a unilateral declaration of independence in the Catalan parliament on October 27, considered illegal by Spanish courts.

Spain issued a European warrant for Puigdemont's arrest in November, but withdrew it after a month based on concerns that Brussels would send the Catalan politician back while restricting the crimes with which he could be charged.

Mr Rajoy has maintained that if Mr Puigdemont is re-elected as regional leader when the Catalan parliament votes on January 31, he will not be permitted to govern from overseas.

But this week, Puigdemont is visiting a university conference in Denmark.

Speaking in Brussels, Spain's foreign minister, Alfonso Dastis, said: "Mr Puigdemont is subject to a process in Spain".

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However, the Catalan parliament's speaker said that Puigdemont was the only candidate chosen by parliament to rule the region. Madrid made the request following Puigdemont's first trip outside of Belgium.

At home, however, he risks arrest on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

Puigdemont's party, Together for Catalonia, won 35, and the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), another separatist party, garnered 32.

During his first foreign visit since leaving Spain to live in voluntary exile in Brussels on 30 October, Puigdemont told students at the University of Copenhagen the European Union showed "failures" in the face of crises both inside and outside its borders.

The former Catalan president along with four members of his cabinet fled his home country after the Spanish Government imposed direct rule on the region.

Torrent said he asked Rajoy for a meeting to talk about the "abnormal situation" in Catalonia.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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