Judge denies national prosecutor’s extradition warrant against Catalan leader

Judge Llarena warned that such a move would further Carles Puigdemont independence cause

A SPANISH judge denied an extradition warrant against Carles Puigdemont today, believing that granting it would further the former Catalan president’s cause of regional independence.
Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena turned down the national prosecutor’s request for a European arrest warrant against Mr Puigdemont after he flew from Brussels to the Danish capital Copenhagen.
Mr Puigdemont spoke at the University of Copenhagen today and was set to meet MPs today.
The Spanish government has charged him, and several other Catalan officials, with rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for holding an independence vote disapproved of by the Madrid authorities.
Mr Puigdemont fled to Brussels to avoid arrest.
Prosecutors had wanted a European arrest warrant issued so that he could be arrested in Denmark.
Judge Llarena said that issuing such a warrant would bolster Mr Puigdemont’s claim “that his absence is not a free decision as a fugitive but the consequence of a situation that has been imposed on him.”
Mr Llarena withdrew a previous warrant in December over concerns that Belgian judges would seek to limit the charges Mr Puigdemont would face.
Catalan parliamentary speaker Roger Torrent had earlier nominated Mr Puigdemont for a second term as Catalonia regional president, saying he was the only candidate with majority support.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy threatened last week to suspend Catalonia’s regional autonomy for a second time in months if Mr Puigdemont was re-elected.
Mr Torrent said he had written to Mr Rajoy asking for a meeting to discuss the “abnormal situation” in the autonomous community of Catalonia.(Source: Morningstaronline)

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