Spanish supreme court rejects European arrest warrant for Puigdemont

People gather outside the Catalonia parliament during a parliamentary session in Barcelona Spain Wednesday Jan. 17 2018. A new Catalan parliament is meeting following a botched secession attempt last year and amid looming questions about the role that

Spain's supreme court has rejected a request from prosecutors to reactivate the global arrest warrant for Carles Puigdemont after the deposed Catalan president flew to Denmark from Belgium to speak at a conference on Monday.

Puigdemont's journey, which included attending a university debate and meeting Danish lawmakers, came almost three months after he was removed from office and fled to Belgium.

The Spanish crime of rebellion has no exact equivalent in Belgium - a fact which led Spanish authorities to drop the arrest warrant against Puigdemont in December.

Puigdemont is scheduled to participate in a discussion at the University of Copenhagen on the political situation in Catalonia. From Madrid, Lauren Frayer reports for NPR's Newscast unit, "It's his first trip out of Belgium since fleeing into exile there".

Mr Puigdemont told students the actions of Madrid were acts of "revenge". But, he hopes to be sworn in via video link or by using an MPs to read his candidate speech if he is re-invested as the new leader of Catalonia at the end of January.

He also talked about an April 25 constitutional referendum in the Faeroe Islands, a Danish territory.




It remains unclear how Puigdemont could be sworn in again as regional president without returning to Spain and therefore putting himself open to likely arrest.

Puigdemont flew Monday to Copenhagen from Belgium, where he has been since fleeing a Spanish investigation into the Catalan parliament's secession declaration a year ago.

Torrent said he is conscious of Puigdemont's absolute legitimacy to be candidate.

Puigdemont refused to comment on the judge's decision not to seek his arrest.

As the sole candidate from Catalonia's separatist grouping, Puigdemont announced this week that he could govern the region from Brussels if he is re-elected president. However, Pablo Casado, spokesman for the governing Popular Party (PP), said that Mr Rajoy "doesn't have to meet with the speakers of regional parliaments and particularly so if they are proposing something illegal".

Spain's state prosecutor has set in motion the process to arrest Catalonia's former leader in Denmark, where he has arrived to attend a debate. He will be arrested the moment he sets foot on Spanish soil.

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