13th November 2019
Puigdemont, Comin and Ponsati
Catalonia News Madrid News Main News

Update: arrest warrants now issued for three former Catalan officials

This is an update to our earlier report:

Spain’s Supreme Court has now sent new extradition requests against Clara Ponsatí, Toni Comín and Lluís Puig to courts in Belgium and Scotland, according to the defence teams.

The lawyers say that the Belgian and Scottish authorities have verbally communicated the reactivation of Spain’s requests to return the former ministers so they may face trial for their roles in the 2017 independence push.

Ponsatí’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar, confirmed that the former Catalan minister for education will present herself on Thursday morning to the authorities and then go to the Edinburgh court in charge of the case.

The defence teams of Comín and Puig in Belgium still do not yet know when they will have to go to the authorities and present themselves to local courts.

Belgian authorities rejected the second extradition attempt against Comín, Puig, and Meritxell Serret in 2018 for an error in the form. Spanish judge Pablo Llarena withdrew the request against all exiled members of the Catalan government after the German justice system refused to extradite former president Carles Puigdemont for rebellion.

Comín, Puig and Ponsatí left Spain for Belgium in late October 2017 to avoid arrest after the Catalan independence referendum and the declaration of independence.

ALSO READ: Puigdemont, Comín, Ponsatí can stand in EU elections

Comín and Puig have remained in Belgium, whilst Clara Ponsatí is in Scotland. Previous extradition orders issued for all three were refused by courts in the countries where they are now living.

The Spanish prosecutor is now asking for Comín and Ponsatí’s extradition on charges of sedition and misuse of public funds, and Puig for misuse of public funds and disobedience. The request also includes warrants for their detention should they travel to non-EU countries.

Aamer Anwar, the lawyer for Ponsatí in Scotland, reacted quickly to the new arrest warrant request, tweeting that ‘Spain has manipulated justice, the facts & what they do now is illegal. We will robustly defend any attempt to extradite Clara Ponsatí.’

ALSO READ: Belgian court: Puigdemont remains free whilst extradition considered

Spain has already issued a new international arrest warrant for former Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, who has also been residing in Belgium since 2017. In a hearing this week, a Brussels court adjourned his case until 16 December.

Puigdemont, Comin and Ponsati
Toni Comín (left), Clara Ponsatí and Carles Puigdemont (far right), together with their lawyer, Gonzalo Boye.

Also this week, Spain warned that it would ‘take decisions’ if the Belgian judiciary fails to extradite Puigdemont to answer charges of sedition and misuse of public funds.

ALSO READ: Catalan Trial verdict and sentences – up to 13 years

Spain’s acting deputy prime minister, Carmen Calvo, said on Tuesday that the Spanish government ‘will not understand’ if the Belgian authorities choose not to extradite Puigdemont, and she added that governments ‘have to work together’ on a daily basis.

‘Spain, at least while we remain in government, will not understand if the Belgian state does not recognise the validity of Spanish democracy by refusing to place before our judiciary those who have been charged in an absolutely guaranteed manner,’ said Calvo.

The current extradition requests do not include former Catalan minister, Meritxell Serret, who is also in Belgium, nor former MP for the far-left CUP party, Anna Gabriel, who moved to Switzerland in 2017 to avoid a court summons.

Click here for all articles and update the Catalan Trial, verdicts and sentencing

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