Skip to content

Spanish Prosecutors Seek Arrest Of Exiled Catalan MEPs

Public Prosecutor's Office calls for search, arrest, and imprisonment of Puigdemont and Comín after parliamentary immunity ruling

The Public Prosecutor’s Office made its move the day after the general election and reactivated the process to obtain the handover of Junts’ MEPs, Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín. It was the step which investigating judge, Pablo Llarena, was waiting for before taking a stance. For this reason, the 1-O prosecutors are calling on Llarena to issue a warrant for the search, arrest, and imprisonment of Puigdemont and Comín, as well as requesting the reactivation of another European arrest warrant (EAW) after establishing that, according to the July 5th European General Court’s (EGC) ruling, both politicians in exile do not have parliamentary immunity. All of this comes from a statement released on Monday by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, “in case it is necessary to process the extradition request”.

“The EGC’s sentence can be appealed before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), although it states that the defence’s appeal “does not have suspensive effect,” said the Public Prosecutor’s Office while admitting in a statement. 

“Taking into account the personal situation of both of them, fleeing from justice and in absentia, it is appropriate to reissue international and European arrest warrants for the two defendants for the offences specified in the January 12th order,” said the statement.

At this point it should be mentioned that after the prosecution’s revision, due to the Spanish criminal’s code reform, Puigdemont and Comín are prosecuted for the crimes of aggravated embezzlement and disobedience —sedition was waived when it was repealed from the criminal code—. Prosecutors add that, for aggravated embezzlement, the facts constitute prison sentences ranging from 6 to 12 years.

(LtoR) Lawyer Gonzalo Boye, Exiled formers member of the Catalan government and MEPs Toni Comín, Carles Puigdemont give a press conference after EU court confirms lifting of Catalan MEPs’ immunity at the EU parliament in Brussels on July 5, 2023. KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES.

Immunity “without effect”

In the argumentation, the Prosecutor reviews the case against the exile’s history and all changes made in the persecuted’s prosecution. The fundamental point which gives rise to the letter sent on Monday is the July 5th EGC’s ruling on the withdrawal of the parliamentary immunity enjoyed by the two MEPs as soon as they joined the European Parliament. After the EGC’s setback, the Public Prosecutor’s Office notes that “the precautionary measure agreed at the time has become null and void” and understands that this ruling gives them carte blanche to demand Puigdemont and Comín’s surrender.

The Chamber considers that, although Puigdemont’s defence announced it will appeal the EGC’s decision before the CJEU, this appeal does not have suspensive effects on the EGC’s decision to withdraw Puigdemont and Comín’s parliamentary protection. Therefore, they write, “the requirements established by the current legislation are met”, according to which “the competent Spanish judicial authority is allowed to issue an arrest and handover warrant”. The prosecutors are Consuelo Madrigal, Jaime Moreno, Javier Zaragoza and Fidel Cadena.

Produced in association with El Nacional En

Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager

“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”

Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.

Check out our free email newsletters

Recommended from our partners