Spanish Court Reportedly Rejects Attempt to Remotely Arrest Puigdemont

Spanish Court Reportedly Rejects Attempt to Remotely Arrest Puigdemont”

Outgoing Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont, who will also run for re-election but who is now in self-imposed exile in Belgium, said Monday that "we will make a government despite Madrid's threats".

Carles Puigdemont arrives in Denmark for a conference on Catalonia.

Puigdemont has been living in Brussels for the past three months after fleeing Catalunya following the region's declaration of independence in October.

Mr Puigdemont and the rest of his ousted government have been charged with rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

Puigdemont faces immediate arrest if he returns to Spain and, if he remains overseas, central authorities in Madrid said they will block any attempt he might make to be Catalonia's president.

Pablo Llarena, the judge in charge of the case against Mr Puigdemont and senior members of his government, will now rule on the request to reactive the European Arrest Warrant, which was dropped on December 5 in a surprise move just as Belgian justice was due to rule on his extradition.

While at first glance a blow to Madrid's efforts to have Puigdemont arrested, the court's decision could also make it more hard for the former Catalan leader to be allowed to vote. Madrid made the request following Puigdemont's first trip outside of Belgium. Rajoy hoped to restore stability to the restive region, but results failed to put pro-unity parties in power.

ERC's leader Oriol Junqueras is the only Catalan politician who remains in prison.

Catalonia's parliament has nominated former leader Carles Puigdemont, sacked by Spain for unilaterally declaring independence, as candidate to rule the region in a sign of defiance to Madrid and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government.

Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis had said the issue of how to proceed with Puigdemont was for judges, and not the government, to decide.

It sent national police to prevent the referendum from taking place, which ended in violence against voters that rights groups called an "excessive use of force".

Alonso-Cuevillas has previously said that Puigdemont "could not be arrested" in Barcelona because of his immunity. If he attempts to do so, Rajoy promised to continue the implementation of Article 155, which does not have a time limit.

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