Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena issued a ruling on Tuesday morning ordering the withdrawal of the European Arrest Warrants against the former Catalan First Minister, Carles Puigdemont, and four other former regional ministers—Clara Ponsatí (education), Toni Comín (health), Lluís Puig (culture) and Meritxell Serret (agriculture)—who are with him in Brussels.
Llarena believes that, were the arrest warrant process to continue, Puigdemont and the other four might only be investigated and tried for some of the crimes they stand accused of: rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds, were a Belgian judge to refuse to countenance them all.
There is still a Spanish arrest warrant outstanding and the judge writes the five "seem to have demonstrated their intent to return to Spain" in order to take part in the elections and assume their offices if elected.
Such a "substantial" restriction from a Belgian court, Llarena writes, would make it more difficult to fairly investigate the whole group for the full range of crimes, which is why the Supreme Court decided in November to take complete charge of what was previously an investigation split between the Supreme Court and the National High Court in Madrid, after both judges independently saw grounds to investigate the actions of the group as a whole for their roles in events during the two years leading up to the declaration of Catalan independence on October 27.
Judge Llarena believes "the different criminal responsibilities must be treated in a unified manner".
If not, the process may lead to "contradictory and divergent outcomes for the different members" of the group, which includes Mr. Puigdemont and his entire former regional government, several former members of the Catalan Parliament, including the Speaker, Carme Forcadell, former Catalan Police chief Josep Lluis Trapero and the chairmen of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural, Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart.
Sánchez and Cuixart are accused of sedition (riot) for the events of September 20 in Barcelona. Jordi Sánchez announced his resignation as the chairman of the ANC on November 16, to run as a candidate alongside Mr. Puigdemont in the regional election on December 21.
On Monday, Llarena also ordered the release on €100,000 bail (each) of six other former regional ministers—Jordi Turull (spokesman), Josep Rull (territory), Raul Romeva (foreign affairs), Dolors Bassa (work and social affairs), Meritxell Borrás (public administration) and Carles Mundó (justice)—who were jailed on remand on November 2.
Four others accused in the case—Oriol Junqueras (former Deputy First Minister, economy), Joaquín Forn (interior), Jordi Sánchez (ANC) and Jordi Cuixart (Omnium Cultural)—were denied bail and remain in prison on remand (pre-trial custody).
Published: 1:57 pm, Dec 05 2017 (link)
Judge Also Withdraws International Arrest Warrant For Puigdemont
The Supreme Court issued a correction on Tuesday afternoon to judge Pablo Llarena's ruling earlier in the day announcing the withdrawal of the European Arrest Warrant for Carles Puigdemont and four other former regional ministers in Brussels.
The judge has also ordered the international version of the arrest warrant withdrawn, in addition to the European one.