Belgian court lets Puigdemont walk free while ruling on extradition to Spain

Spain has issued third European arrest warrant against him after two failed attempts

Puigdemont is currently exiled in Belgium (by Natàlia Segura)
Puigdemont is currently exiled in Belgium (by Natàlia Segura) / ACN

ACN | Brussels

October 18, 2019 11:23 AM

A Belgian court let Carles Puigdemont walk free on Friday while it decides on Spain's extradition request for the former Catalan president.

The exiled independence leader appeared in Belgium’s public prosecutor’s office in the morning and formally rejected his extradition to Spain. 

The Supreme Court in Madrid issued the third European arrest warrant against him on Monday, a matter of hours after the guilty verdict on the 2017 referendum leaders was out.

Belgium decided that the former Catalan president is authorized to leave the country if he requests to do so.

In his first extradition procedure in autumn 2017 which was eventually withdrawn by Spain, Puigdemont, also in Belgium at the time, was allowed to walk free but was ordered not to leave Belgium. He was also required to set a permanent residence and to appear in court whenever he was summoned.  

In his second such procedure, in Germany, he was provisionally imprisoned for 12 days and then released for the three months until his case was considered. A court in Schleswig-Holstein eventually decided to extradite him but only for misuse of funds. Spain rejected it and withdrew its European arrest warrant.  

On Tuesday, one day after the new arrest warrant was issued, Belgium asked Spain’s authorities to translate their request to either French, Dutch, German or English, after having Madrid only sent it in Spanish.