COPENHAGEN – A request by top Spanish prosecutors to reinstate a European arrest warrant for the ousted Catalan leader as he traveled to Denmark for a debate was on Monday dismissed by the Supreme Court.
Carles Puigdemont, who is wanted by the Spanish authorities to face charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds in relation to his role in Catalonia’s illegal independence referendum, arrived in the Danish capital early Monday, where he was to attend a private debate organized by the University of Copenhagen’s Political Science department.
Sources from Spain’s state prosecutor’s office said Pablo Llarena, the Supreme Court judge leading the sedition investigation against Puigdemont, was officially requested to reinstate a European arrest warrant in a bid to bring the sacked former region president of Catalonia back to Spain in order to face charges; a previous European arrest warrant was retracted by Llarena on Dec. 5, 2017.
In a statement, Llarena said he found the request reasonable, but that ultimately there were nuances in the case that meant that such a warrant should be postponed for now.
On Sunday, the state prosecutor’s office warned that if Puigdemont made the decision to travel to Denmark, it would “immediately request that investigation magistrate at the Supreme Court proceed with the activation of the European warrant for his arrest and surrender.”
Puigdemont has been staying in Belgium for three months – along with four other members of his defunct government – to avoid appearing before the Spanish National Court for the investigation regarding his leading role in Catalonia’s process of secession which ended with a unilateral declaration of independence on Oct. 27.
A Spanish arrest warrant for Puigdemont remained in place.
Puigdemont was deposed by the Spanish government as it took immediate constitutional action to rescind the Catalan independence bid.
Several other leading figures in that movement, including former vice-president Oriol Junqueras, remained in pretrial detention in Madrid where they faced the same charges.