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Puigdemont to travel to Finland on Thursday

The Catalan president will spend two days in country

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19 March 2018 02:36 PM

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ACN | Geneva

The deposed Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, who has recently  travelled to Geneva in order to take part in a debate on human rights, is travelling to Finland on Thursday, and will remain there until March 24.

He was invited by the Finnish politician Mikko Kärnä and other members of the Friends of Catalonia Intergroup of MPs in the Parliament, and will be visiting the Scandinavian chamber on Thursday. The day after he will give a conference at the University of Helsinki. Kärnä has called Puigdemont a "champion of the defence of freedom, democracy, and human rights in Europe."

Nearly 1,000 people attended the debate with Carles Puigdemont that was held in the Swiss city of Geneva on Sunday. In a press conference after the discussion, the deposed Catalan leader stated that Swiss mediation between the Catalan and the Spanish administrations would be a "privilege". Puigdemont noted that Switzerland has a broad "experience" in international mediation, as well as in the fields of peace and human rights.

Still, he stressed that the international mediation needs to be accepted by both parties. Once the debate was over, the Catalan leader insisted on the idea of international mediation between Catalonia and Spain, as they could encourage political "dialogue" between both administrations.

Extradition fears

Since moving to Brussels last October, Carles Puigdemont has crossed the border two times. This will be his third. In January he travelled to Copenhagen, for two days, amid concerns of a possible arrest by the Danish police in the event Spain reissued a European arrest warrant. In the end, he was not arrested despite the Spanish prosecution’s attempt.

As the deposed leader headed to Geneva, the Spanish prosecution called upon Rajoy's government to work in conjunction with Interpol and the Swiss authorities in order to detain him. However, a spokesman for the Swiss justice system stated last week that so far "there is “no legal basis” for his arrest. The prosecutor has also asked Spain’s Supreme Court, which is in charge of the case against independence leaders, to“restrict the validity” of his passport. No other Spanish authority has made any further move.

Puigdemont must be listened to, says Kärnä

Mikko Kärnä stated that "it's very important to listen to [Puigdemont's] vision on Catalonia and Spain." In an interview with Catalan News, Kärnä explained that he foresees "MPs from various parties" will attend the conference featuring the Junts per Catalunya leader, to take place on Thursday. 

"In my opinion, it's a disgrace that there's a country in the European Union, like Spain, where you can be incarcerated for burning the picture of the king or similar things," he stated, adding that "that's why it's very important we listen to the situation over there."

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  • Puigdemont in Geneva on Monday (by ACN)

  • Puigdemont in Geneva on Monday (by ACN)