Dropping warrants 'does not harm' image of Spanish justice, says government
Spokeswoman calls differences over extradition merely result of “conversations between courts”
The Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday to withdraw the European Arrest Warrants it issued for Catalan political leaders abroad has done nothing to damage the image of Spain’s justice system, according to the Spanish government.
The spokeswoman for Pedro Sánchez’s executive, Isabel Celaá, said on Friday that judge Pablo Llarena’s decision to drop the extradition of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and some of his ministers was the result of “conversations between courts.”
After a German court rejected Puigdemont’s extradition for rebellion and only accepted the misuse of public funds charge, Supreme Court judge Llarena decided to withdraw the arrest warrants and criticized the Schleswig-Holstein regional court for a “lack of engagement.”
“Much remains to be done before we have a genuine European-wide judicial area. When we do, suspects will know there is no impunity in the EU, whichever country they may flee to”
Albert Rivera · Ciutadans leader
“They are disagreements between two judicial spheres and we respect them,” Celaá told the press. According to the spokeswoman, the Spanish government “does not get involved” in legal matters and she limited herself to expressing “respect” for the decisions of the courts.
In facing the press, the spokeswoman avoided questions about the political leaders abroad under investigation by the Supreme Court. “The Spanish government deeply respects the separation of powers and judicial independence in this matter and all others,” said Celaá.
Ciutadans: extradition system inefficient
Yet, the leader of the Ciutadans opposition party, Albert Rivera, was more critical. On Twitter, Rivera called the European Arrest Warrant system “inefficient” and said “much remains to be done before we have a genuine European-wide judicial area. When we do, suspects will know there is no impunity in the EU, whichever country they may flee to.”