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Spain: justice refuses to amnesty Puigdemont, who remains subject to an arrest warrant

One month after the adoption of the amnesty law for Catalan independentists, the Spanish courts ruled Monday on the emblematic case of Carles Puigdemont, & who refuses to apply the measure, maintaining the arrest warrant targeting the exiled leader in Belgium.

Judge Pablo Llarena, of the Supreme Court, rendered “a judgment in which he declared the amnesty not applicable to the offense of embezzlement in the case targeting the former president of the Catalan Generalitat Carles Puigdemont”, indicated the highest judicial body of the country.

The arrest warrant targeting the president of the Catalan regional government since the attempted secession of Catalonia in 2017 therefore remains in force, specifies the court in its decision, which may be appealed within three days from notification to the parties.

The judgment of the Supreme Court makes the effect of a thunderbolt when the amnesty law was to primarily concern Carles Puigdemont, who hoped to be able to return quickly to Spain. It also constitutes a major setback for socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, at the origin of this controversial measure.

Targeted by an arrest warrant since the events of 2017, Mr. Puigdemont fled to Belgium, where he still lives, to escape the prosecution of the Spanish justice system, which resulted in several other separatist leaders being incarcerated. He was indicted for the offenses of embezzlement, disobedience and terrorism.

In his ruling, Judge Llarena considered that the amnesty applied to the offense of disobedience, but that on the other hand, “the behavior” accused of Mr. Puigdemont and two other separatists corresponded “fully to the two exceptions provided for by law” with regard to the offense of embezzlement.

The magistrate considers in fact that there was a desire on the part of Mr. Puigdemont to obtain a personal benefit, and that his actions had an impact on the financial interests of the European Union, which makes the amnesty inapplicable in its eyes.

The offense of terrorism, of which Mr. Puigdemont is also accused in a separate case, is not addressed in this judgment.

– “Coup d'Etat des togas” –

A few minutes after the Supreme Court's announcement, Carles Puigdemont reacted on the social network “X” via a cryptic message (“La Toga nostra”) assimilating the judges and their togas to the Sicilian mafia Cosa Nostra.

“We are facing a coup d'état of the togas”, said Jordi at a press conference Turull, secretary general of his party, Junts per Catalunya, calling it a “clearly political decision”. By refusing amnesty for Mr. Puigdemont, “the judiciary is once again attacking the will of the legislator,” he denounced.

On May 30, the Spanish Parliament adopted this amnesty law for Catalan separatists, the price that socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had to pay to be returned to power in November thanks to the support of the two Catalan separatist parties, which demanded this measure in return.

Since then, the right-wing and far-right opposition has been up in arms against this law, according to it “unconstitutional”, and against which it has organized protests. numerous demonstrations.

The objective of the legislators was that the courts would immediately begin to cancel the arrest warrants targeting the separatists who had fled abroad, and that these cancellations remain valid pending the review of appeals filed against the law, which can take months or even years.

But with more than 400 people prosecuted or convicted for offenses linked to Catalonia's 2017 attempt at independence or to the events that followed or preceded it, the task promises to be difficult for the courts, who must decide on a case-by-case basis.

The magistrates – many of whom do not hide their reluctance or even their frank opposition to this measure which has dominated and radicalized Spanish political life since the elections of July 2023 – had two months from its entry into force. force on June 11 to put it into effect.

Last week, two people, a former member of the Catalan regional government and a police officer, became the first beneficiaries of the law and were amnestied.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116