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It wouldn't be illegal for Puigdemont to be elected president, says criminal law professor

Catalan News speaks to Josep Maria Tamarit about Puigdemont's extradition process and what lies ahead

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18 July 2018 09:21 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

German judiciary has decided to extradite Carles Puigdemont only for misuse of public funds, thus rejecting rebellion charges. With the former Catalan president still being able to appeal at the German Constitutional Court, Spain now has to decide whether to accept these extradition terms. To go in depth about this issue, Catalan News has spoken to Josep Maria Tamarit, professor of criminal law at the Open University of Catalonia.

Taking into account Germany's decision, what are the options now for the supreme court judge? 

Now the Spanish judge of the supreme court basically has two options. one is to execute the European order and that would have as a consequence that Puigdemont would be extradited to Spain. the other to withdraw this order and then Puigdemont would be free to move in Germany and other countries of Europe where the order would not be enforced. 

 

  • "From a legal point of view, it wouldn't be prohibited for him to be elected president,"
    Josep Maria Tamarit · professor of criminal law at the Open University of Catalonia

And what is the most likely option between these two?

It's difficult to make predictions, regarding a decision that is in the hands of the judge only. The judge is now probably facing a dilemma because both options are bad for the supreme court because both options can be seen as a way to delegitimize what's been done up to now. If he decides to withdraw the order can be seen as a surrender. And, if he decides to go ahead with the procedure, he faces another problem: Puigdemont would be judged only for a less serious crime compared with the penal proceedings against the other members of his government. And this would obviously be a way to make clear that this procedure against other members of the gov would be arbitrary and disproportionate.

Well, with this decision in Germany, Puigdemont's party members say he might still have a chance to be reinstated as president. Do you think this is possible? 

It's possible. From a legal point of view, it wouldn't be prohibited for him to be elected president. The problem would be if the judge decided to put him in preemptive jail. That would be the problem, to hold the election in parliament. But there is no cause for suspension of public functions if the only charge is for embezzlement...the other members of the government have been suspended of their functions because the law provides this measure, but only when the crimes judged are those of terrorism or rebellion. It will not be the case for Puigdemont's trial, so this option is open. 

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  • Josep Maria Tamarit during his interview with Catalan News on July 18 2018 (by Catalan News)

  • Josep Maria Tamarit during his interview with Catalan News on July 18 2018 (by Catalan News)