Spain drops extradition requests for Carles Puigdemont, other Catalan separatists

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 20, 2018

Spanish authorities revoked European and global arrest warrants for former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and other leading separatist politicians now in exile.

They include deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who has been fighting extradition from Germany.

In a decision published Thursday, Spanish Judge Pablo Llarena revoked the arrest warrants against the six Catalan leaders and declined to extradite Puigdemont on charges of misusing public funds.

Puigdemont's Catalan government held an independence referendum previous year, despite a Spanish court having ruled that the vote violated the constitution.

A German court ruled a week ago that Puigdemont could be extradited to Spain to face a separate charge for misuse of public funds.

Aamer Anwar, a lawyer for one of the other figures whose warrant was lifted said: "It's excellent news, with regards to my client Clara Ponsati, and obviously for Puigdemont. but we tread cautiously".

If the six separatists return to Spain voluntarily, they would still face rebellion and sedition charges.

It is the second time Spain has revoked the arrest warrant for Mr Puigdemont since he went into self-exile when his independence bid for Catalonia collapsed a year ago. However, Llarena criticized the German court's decision, saying it showed "a lack of commitment" in pursuing the fugitives.

Several other top Puigdemont aides, including Oriol Junqueras, have been jailed in Spain pending trial.

Puigdemont fled to Belgium after the referendum to avoid arrest but then travelled to Germany, where he was taken into custody.

The authorities in Madrid had been seeking Prof Ponsati on charges of "violent rebellion" and "misappropriation of public funds" over her role in Catalonia's controversial independence referendum a year ago.

Quim Torra, a hardline Catalan nationalist, was sworn in in May to replace Puigdemont as president of the region.

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