TEHRAN – A Spanish judge has withdrawn the European arrest warrants for the former Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium after the Madrid government fired him, and four of his ministers.
The judge, Pablo Llarena, said the former president and the Catalan cabinet members in Belgium had shown a willingness to return to Spain while withdrawing the warrants also prevented more than one European jurisdiction overseeing the case, The Guardian reported.
Court sources however said Spanish arrest warrants were still in force against the five and they would be detained upon arrival in the country. Official campaigning for a 21 December regional election, called after Puigdemont’s government was dissolved, began on Tuesday.
More than a dozen Catalan leaders are facing possible charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds in Spain over their roles in October’s illegal independence referendum and the subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.
Llarena also argued that the European warrant would complicate the overall probe into Catalan leaders. He said Belgium could reject some of the reasons behind the warrant, which could possibly reduce the charges and create inequalities with those back in Spain.
Six former Catalan cabinet members facing charges were on Monday granted bail but the deposed Catalan vice-president, Oriol Junqueras, looks set to contest this month’s regional election from a prison cell after a judge at Spain’s supreme court denied him bail, saying it remained to be seen whether his pledge to abide by Spanish law was “truthful and real”.
A Belgian court had on Monday given the five Catalans a 14 December date for a decision on whether to grant a European arrest warrant and extradite them.
date: 5 December 2017 id: 16809 source: Tasnim