Will Italy Hand a Wanted Catalan Separatist Leader to Spain?

An Italian court docket launched the previous chief of Spain’s Catalonia area on Friday, a day after his arrest, however ordered him to stay within the nation whereas authorities take into account whether or not to ship him again to Spain to face trial, his lawyer stated.

Italian police detained Carles Puigdemont on Thursday evening beneath a European arrest warrant issued by a Spanish decide. Spain is in search of his return to prosecute him on prices associated to the failed independence bid he led 4 years in the past.

The Italian decide didn’t request any additional detention of Mr. Puigdemont, his lawyer, Agostinangelo Marras, advised reporters.

“This could lead to the discharge of President Puigdemont inside a few hours,” he stated, including that his shopper had no intention of returning to Spain.

He faces trial on sedition prices in Spain for his main position in an unsuccessful try to declare Catalonia an unbiased state within the fall of 2017, following a referendum that the Spanish authorities and courts had declared unlawful.

Pablo Llarena, a Spanish Supreme Courtroom decide, has pursued Mr. Puigdemont as a fugitive since he fled to Brussels in October 2017, and had issued a Europe-wide warrant for his arrest.

In 2019, the Supreme Courtroom sentenced different main Catalan separatists to prolonged jail phrases over their roles in that secession try. However in June, the prime minister pardoned them they usually had been launched.

The separatist management of Catalonia has since pushed for a common amnesty that would come with Mr. Puigdemont, even because the Supreme Courtroom has maintained that he should first stand trial.

Italy’s judiciary will take into account whether or not the Spanish sedition prices justify handing over Mr. Puigdemont, who’s a member of the European Parliament.

However there are additionally questions on whether or not Spain’s judiciary had suspended its longstanding arrest warrant earlier than the previous Catalan chief traveled to Sardinia. Legal professionals defending Mr. Puigdemont insist that this was the case.

The Spanish authorities stated on Friday that this was a matter for the courts in Italy and Spain.

“We can not predict what would be the consequence of the detention,” stated Pilar Llop, Spain’s justice minister.

Within the coming weeks, Italian judicial authorities are anticipated to schedule a new listening to on whether or not to return him to Spain.

Mr. Puigdemont was elected to the European Parliament in 2019, which afforded him immunity from prosecution inside the European Union. However that Parliament stripped him of his immunity in March, a determination that was upheld by a European court docket in July.

Beneath the Italian judicial system, if the court docket determined to hand Mr. Puigdemont to Spanish authorities and he appealed, his case would transfer to an higher court docket in Rome the place the proceedings usually take six to eight months.

Defendants will not be permitted to go away Italy whereas awaiting the court docket’s determination.

Spain has repeatedly failed in its makes an attempt to carry Mr. Puigdemont house for trial, each from Belgium, the place he has lived since late 2017, and from Germany, the place he was briefly detained in 2018 earlier than a regional court docket ordered his launch.

Mr. Puigdemont’s journey to Italy provided Spain’s judiciary a contemporary alternative to demand his return now that his parliamentary immunity has been stripped.

Italian judges might be contemplating lighter prices than these thought-about within the German listening to. Mr. Puigdemont was then accused of revolt, a extra critical cost than sedition, and one for which the German court docket stated it didn’t see adequate grounds.

If Italy does in the end take into account surrendering Mr. Puigdemont, Martín Palladino, a Spanish professor of legal legislation who makes a speciality of extradition points, stated authorized points won’t be the one issue.

“We can not rule out that politics will affect this, someway,” he stated.

The sudden arrest instantly strained relations between politicians within the Spanish capital, Madrid, and Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia. It comes simply a week after the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, made a long-delayed go to to Barcelona to resume talks with Pere Aragones, the chief of Catalonia, on ending the dispute infected by the independence bid.

From Brussels, Mr. Puigdemont has continued to wield important affect over Catalan politics because the founding father of a hard-line separatist celebration, Collectively for Catalonia. His seat within the European Parliament has additionally given him a platform from which to criticize Spain.

In Catalan elections in February, a left-wing pro-independence celebration, Esquerra Republicana, narrowly surpassed Mr. Puigdemont’s group as the biggest separatist pressure.

After the vote, Esquerra’s candidate, Mr. Aragones, took workplace because the regional chief, promising to scale back tensions and renew political dialogue with Madrid. Earlier this month, Mr. Aragones tussled with Mr. Puigdemont’s celebration over who ought to sit on the negotiating desk with the central authorities.

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