Spanish Court Withdraws International Arrest Warrant for Ousted Catalan president

By Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (Puigdemont acompanyat de càrrecs electes de CiU) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Supreme Court of Spain has withdrawn an international arrest warrant for Carles Puigdemont, the former leader of Catalonia, and four other members of the deposed cabinet of Puigdemont.

The ousted and disputed president is facing charges of rebellion, sedition, and misuse of public funds in Spain relating to the calling of a referendum for independence on the 1st of October.

However, Puigdemont has travelled to Belgium, prompting Spanish authorities to issue a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) to request for his deportation to face trial proceedings in Spain.

However, on Tuesday, a Spanish judge, said that individual EAWs were not valid for crimes that were allegedly committed by a bigger group of people – in this case, the whole government of Catalonia.

The judge added that the five politicians had, in any case, exhibited their “intention to return to Spain” to run for office in elections in Catalonia.

The charges that were imposed against the Catalans are punishable by many years in prison.

During the weekend, the lawyer of the leader said that he planned to stay in Belgium until the close of the next snap elections in Catalonia, which the Spanish government has scheduled for the 21st of December after suspending home rule in the region.

Yesterday, the courts system of Spain refused bail for Oriol Junqueras, the deputy of Puigdemont and former Catalan vice president, as well as Joaquim Forn, the deposed Catalan interior minister, and the leaders of civic groups, Omnium Cultural and ANC.

Six other former ministers from the regional government of Catalonia, the Generalitat, were released from custody on bail.