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Spanish judge might withdraw extradition request for Puigdemont, say reports

Former president appealing to German Constitutional Court or Spain's judiciary taking the case to EU justice, other possible outcomes

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13 July 2018 11:19 AM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The Spanish judge in charge of the independence case, Pablo Llarena, is considering withdrawing the extradition request he issued against Carles Puigdemont.

This, after the German judiciary decided to reject rebellion charges against the deposed president, ruling for extradition only for misuse of funds.

That means that Puigdemont cannot be tried for rebellion in Spain, while, however, eight of his former ministers will face courts for this very reason.

Because of this contrast, Catalan and Spanish media suggest that judge Llarena might withdraw the European arrest warrant.

The judge already did so in December with another extradition request, for Puigdemont and three former ministers in Belgium.

This, only one day after the Belgian prosecutor's office had also rejected the most serious crimes against Puigdemont and the other exiled officials.

Yet on March 23, the Supreme Court reissued European arrest warrants against the pro-independence leaders abroad. And this time, Puigdemont had been apprehended at the German border. 

Taking the case to EU court

After the decision taken in Germany on July 12, the Spanish judiciary might take another path, say some reports: taking the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

This option was already discussed in April, when the judges in Schleswig-Holstein first rejected the rebellion charges.

Requesting a preliminary ruling for this EU court is a legal procedure, which enables courts of member states to question the interpretation or validity of an EU law.

Should the Supreme Court request the ruling, Puigdemont’s extradition would be immediately frozen until the issue is resolved, something that could take up to 16 months.

German Constitutional Court

If the judge Llarena were to decide not to take any action, the extradition would be executed – unless Puigdemont's defense makes a move instead.

One of his top lawyers, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, said they were planning to appeal at the German Constitutional Court.

In an interview with the Catalan public TV, he said that "it might be a denial of the extradition in two steps."

He referred to a first step being the rejection of rebellion by the court in Schleswig-Holstein on Thursday, and the second one potentially by the German Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, rejecting the extradition, also for misuse of funds, the only crime not rejected so far in Germany.

 

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  • The Spanish Supreme Court on January 30, 2018 (by Javier Barbancho)

  • The Spanish Supreme Court on January 30, 2018 (by Javier Barbancho)

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