SEVERE WX : Heat Advisory View Alerts

Exiled Catalan leader has Europe-wide arrest warrant dropped

Spanish prosecutors have dropped a European Arrest Warrant for former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, over his part...

Posted: Jul 20, 2018 11:59 AM
Updated: Jul 20, 2018 11:59 AM

Spanish prosecutors have dropped a European Arrest Warrant for former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, over his part in last October's controversial independence referendum.

Five other separatists wanted by Madrid, also had their Europe-wide warrants dropped, effectively meaning they are free to move around the EU.

Spanish arrest warrants for the six still stand, so they can be arrested if they return to the country, the country's prosecutors said in a statement Thursday.

Spain wants to try the separatist leader for rebellion in light of his push for Catalan independence, but a German court refused last week to extradite him on that charge. The German court did say he could be extradited to face a corruption charge.

Puigdemont has been living in Germany since May, when he was initially detained after crossing into the country from Denmark.

The former Catalan leader says that dropping the Europe-wide warrant was "proof of the immense weakness" of the case against him and the other Catalan separatists, he wrote in a tweet on Thursday.

He also repeated his call for Spanish authorities to release the members of his government who remain in jail.

"Today is a day to demand, with more strength than ever, the freedom of the political prisoners," he said in the tweet. "To revoke their arrest on remand would be the demonstration that Spanish judiciary is beginning to act like the European."

Puidgemont's lawyers in Germany called the decision "reasonable" and a consequence of their efforts over the past weeks, they said in a statement to CNN on Thursday.

"Spain's European-wide persecution of Carles Puigdemont has therefore ended," the lawyers said. "As we have said since the beginning of the procedure: political conflicts of a state must be carried out politically, not by the means of criminal law."

125-mile-long human chain calls for Basque independence vote

Detained crossing the border

Protests broke out in Barcelona earlier in the year after news that the separatist had been detained in Germany while en route to Belgium from Finland. He was detained after crossing the border from Denmark.

Prior to his detention, he had lived in self-imposed exile in Belgium since October, after spearheading Catalonia's referendum on whether to secede from Spain.

The independence drive plunged the country into its worst political crisis in decades, with Madrid denouncing the referendum as illegal and calling for Puigdemont's arrest.

Madrid imposed direct rule on Catalonia after the regional parliament unilaterally declared independence in October, thereby stripping the autonomous region of many of its administrative powers. The situation remains unresolved.

The political calculus in Spain shifted significantly following the election of Catalan separatist President Quim Torra in May and socialist Prime Minister, Pedro S-nchez, in June, following a no-confidence vote that ousted the right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy.

S-nchez' minority government relies on support of the anti-austerity Podemos, Catalan pro-independence parties and the Basque Nationalist Party.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 420860

Reported Deaths: 32774
CountyConfirmedDeaths
New York City22783223580
Suffolk437861998
Nassau436552194
Westchester362051447
Rockland13942674
Orange11159491
Erie8904671
Monroe4956285
Dutchess4607153
Onondaga3576200
Albany2595128
Oneida2146115
Ulster206292
Niagara149898
Sullivan148948
Putnam144963
Broome112669
Schenectady105837
Rensselaer76530
Saratoga75717
Columbia54037
Madison41217
Ontario36034
Warren30833
Orleans29854
Steuben29842
Fulton29624
Greene29218
Genesee2775
Herkimer2744
St. Lawrence2634
Washington25914
Chautauqua2539
Oswego2533
Wayne2503
Tompkins2340
Chenango2166
Tioga19325
Livingston1768
Montgomery1764
Chemung1713
Cattaraugus1656
Cayuga1522
Jefferson1420
Clinton1274
Wyoming1185
Otsego1165
Delaware1054
Cortland950
Seneca893
Allegany791
Schoharie690
Yates577
Essex550
Franklin540
Lewis410
Schuyler220
Hamilton80
Unassigned00
Utica
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Oneonta
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 64°
Herkimer
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Thendara
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 70°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Click here to learn more about A Healthier Mohawk Valley
Ask EPLC Sweepstakes
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
Senior Send-Off brought to you by Herkimer College
WKTV Golf Card - Under 150 left