Spain abandons attempt to extradite Puigdemont from Germany
20 July 2018
Yesterday, the Spanish Supreme Court abandoned its attempts to secure the extradition of deposed Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont from Germany back to Spain.
Puigdemont had fled Catalonia to Brussels last autumn during the brutal police crackdown launched by Madrid against the Catalan independence referendum he had organized. He was jailed in Germany in March and released on bail in April. Last week, a German regional court in Schleswig-Holstein ruled that Puigdemont could be extradited to Spain but granted extradition only on embezzlement charges, for using state funds to finance the referendum, and not on the more serious charges of rebellion.
Yesterday, Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena issued a statement attacking the German court ruling. Criticizing its “lack of concern” for actions that “could have overthrown the Spanish constitutional order,” he accused the Schleswig-Holstein court of overstepping its authority based on an “unclarified position.”
Llarena did not, however, aggressively pursue the legal avenues available to try to overturn the Schleswig-Holstein court ruling. Llarena declined to appeal this ruling to the European Court of Justice. He also withdrew European Arrest Warrants issued by Madrid for Puigdemont and other Catalan nationalist officials who fled Catalonia together with Puigdemont during Madrid’s crackdown.
Spanish arrest warrants for Puigdemont on charges of rebellion and embezzlement remain in force, however. “Carles Puigdemont will be able to travel freely outside of Spain without fear of being detained,” the social-democratic-leaning daily El País concluded yesterday.
On Twitter, Puigdemont called this “proof of the…