Spanish government refuses decision by sacked Catalonia leader to rule remotely

Wendy Jensen
January 24, 2018

However, a senior Spanish judge rejected the warrant, saying it would play into Puigdemont's hands.

At home, however, he risks arrest on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

The supreme court had previously issued a European arrest warrant when he originally travelled to Belgium only to withdraw it because Belgium does not have a crime which is the exact equivalent of rebellion.

The prosecutor's office says it has asked the Supreme Court to approve a European warrant for his arrest.

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Catalonia's sacked president Carles Puigdemont on Monday, January 22, repeated accusations that the European Union is failing to defend fundamental rights in the wealthy Spanish region.

His party emerged as the largest of the three separatist groupings in Catalonia's regional election in December. The charges carry a potential prison sentence of up to 30 years.

Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said in Brussels that "Mr. Puigdemont is subject to a process in Spain". Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy reiterated on Saturday it would be considered "illegal". However, Rajoy has said Puigdemont must attend the investiture debates in person.

But a government official close to Rajoy who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said that the central government had no intention of discussing judicial affairs with the Catalan speaker.

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The former Catalan president along with four members of his cabinet fled his home country after the Spanish Government imposed direct rule on the region.

Mr Puigdemont told students the actions of Madrid were acts of "revenge".

Spain's state prosecutor is seeking his arrest in Denmark.

His proposed appearance at the debate in the Danish capital comes while Puigdemont is trying to be reinstated as the regional president of Catalonia. The fugitive former leader of Catalonia has arrived in Denmark, despite threats from Spain to seek his immediate arrest there.

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