Spanish Supreme Court rejects EU arrest warrant for Puigdemont

Madrid: Spanish Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena on Monday rejected a request by the Spanish state prosecutor’s office for a European arrest warrant for exiled former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.

Puigdemont travelled from Belgium to Denmark on Monday to attend a conference at a university, Xinhua news agency reported.

Llanera argued that Puigdemont’s visit to Denmark was a strategy for the former Catalan leader to be arrested in order to “force a context in which he would be able to delegate his vote as if he was in the same situation as those who are currently at the disposition of this court and who have been provisionally denied their liberty.”

This is a reference to Puigdemont’s former deputy Oriol Junqueras and the representatives in the Catalan regional assembly, Joaquim Form and Jordi Sanchez, who have been able to delegate their vote in the assembly elected on December 21, even though they are in prison facing charges of rebellion, sedition; while Junqueras faces trail for the misuse of public funds.

Llanera argued that Puigdemont’s trip had “no other aim other than to provoke his arrest” to allow him to participate in the forthcoming investiture debate.

Puigdemont has been in exile in Belgium since the start of November after leaving Spain in the wake of the Catalan independence referendum and unilateral declaration of independence.

The Supreme Court had previously issued a European arrest warrant when he originally travelled to Belgium only to withdraw it because Belgium does not have a crime which is the exact equivalent of rebellion.