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Court reopens case of Puigdemont's traveling companions at time of his arrest

Judges uphold prosecutor's appeal to investigate four men for who were with former president when he was detained in Germany

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17 January 2019 07:29 PM

by

ACN | Madrid

Spain's National Court has ordered the reopening of the case of the four people traveling with former president Carles Puigdemont when he was arrested in Germany last March.

The four were two Catalan police officers, historian, and head of Puigdemont's office, Josep Lluís Alay, and businessman and the former president's friend, Josep Maria Matamala.

All of them except for Matamala, who is now resident in Belgium, were summoned to appear in the National Court on June 4, but on October 30 a judge closed the file on the case.

As the police officers were not on active duty at the time, and as Alay had still not taken over the running of Puigdemont's office, the judge decided that none of them were fulfilling public functions.

Court upholds prosecutor's appeal

Yet, now the court has decided to uphold an appeal by the public prosecutor, ruling that the actions of all four were "aimed at avoiding" Puigdemont's arrest in a country other than Belgium, and so the men will now be investigated for the offense of concealing rebellion.

Puigdemont was detained on March 25, two days after an international arrest warrant for him was reissued. The former president was returning to Belgium by car from Finland, where he had gone to attend a conference. Germany eventually released him and rejected his extradition to Spain for the crime of rebellion.

The ruling reopening the case finds that Puigdemont's companions were aware he was a "fugitive," that their behavior was in keeping with people helping someone avoid detention, and that the route taken to Belgium was "unusual" and chosen to avoid Puigdemont's arrest.

As for Matamala, the court decided to leave it to the public prosecutor to decide whether to demand the issue of an international arrest warrant, as he is the only one of the four who did not answer the original court summons.

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  • Carles Puigdemont arrives in Copenhagen with his traveling companions (by Rafa Garrido)

  • Carles Puigdemont arrives in Copenhagen with his traveling companions (by Rafa Garrido)