15th July 2024
Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín
Barcelona News Catalonia News Madrid News Main News

Spain’s Constitutional Court rejects hearing Puigdemont’s appeal against arrest warrant

Spain’s Constitutional Court has rejected hearing an appeal lodged by the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and ex-health minister Toni Comín against the warrants for their arrest in Spain.

With most of the judges on vacation, two voted in favour of not hearing the appeal and another voted against the decision.

Some Spanish media have highlighted that the decision is ‘unprecedented’, with the online El Diario reporting that two Constitutional judges have ‘taken advantage of their conservative majority during the summer vacation to reject the appeals of Puigdemont and Comín’. The paper states that ‘the practice followed until now has been to admit appeals to analyse their content in detail — and to do so outside the plenary session’. 

Constitutional Court sources said this decision had been taken due to the ‘evident non-existence of a violation of the fundamental right to protection’.

Puigdemont and Comín, who are both currently MEPs for the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) party, have been living in Belgium since late 2017 to evade prosecution for the referendum deemed illegal by Spain (see background to political conflict below).

The politicians were recently stripped of their parliamentary immunity in the EU but have until 15 September to appeal.

Spain’s Supreme Court confirmed in late July that it will not be issuing an arrest warrant for Puigdemont until the Court of the Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decides whether it will hear a potential appeal regarding his loss of parliamentary immunity, which could then be temporarily restored in the meantime. 

Puigdemont’s party, JxCat, has become crucial as the potential kingmaker following Spain’s general election held on Sunday 23 July, as the results created a hung parliament. ALSO READ: With Sánchez and Feijóo both claiming victory in the election … what happens next?

Background to Catalan political conflict

Nine Catalan politicians and activists were jailed for between 9-13 years by the Spanish Supreme Court in October 2019, convicted of sedition and misuse of public funds for their role in the 2017 illegal referendum, with the verdicts causing widespread protests across Catalonia. In June 2021, the nine walked free from prison, following pardons granted by the government led by socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, but they remained banned from holding public office.

Late last year, Spain passed a controversial criminal code reform that downgraded the two charges used against them, abolishing sedition and replacing it with that of aggravated public disorder, and also reducing the penalty for misuse of public funds.

Misuse of public funds can carry prison time of between six months and up to five years if convicted, but disobedience only carries a disqualification from public office.

Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín
Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 13 January 2019.

ALSO READ: Spain’s public prosecutor requests new EU arrest warrant for Carles Puigdemont.

ALSO READ: Puigdemont claims PSOE offered him a pardon in exchange for surrendering to Spanish justice.

Click here for all our reports related to: Catalan independence. 

Sign up for the FREE Weekly Newsletter from Spain in English.

Please support Spain in English with a donation.

Click here to get your business activity or services listed on our DIRECTORY.

Click here for further details on how to ADVERTISE with us.

Recent Posts

Body found in search for Jay Slater in Tenerife

News Desk

Spain beat England 2-1 to win Euro 2024 – and Carlos Alcaraz wins Wimbledon

Sports Desk

Spain’s Supreme Court drops Puigdemont ‘terrorism’ probe due to ‘procedural error’

News Desk

Lamine Yamal, aged 16, makes history at Euro 2024: ‘I only ask to win, win, win.’

Sports Desk

Sánchez hails France’s ‘rejection of far right’ – and Labour’s victory in the UK

News Desk

Tourists in Barcelona sprayed with water pistols, as 2,800 protest against mass tourism

News Desk

Leave a Comment