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Spanish prosecutors call for new arrest warrant for Catalan separatists

by editor

Spanish prosecutors are calling for a new international arrest warrant to be issued against Catalan independence leaders Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín, weeks after a top EU court stripped them of their European Parliament immunity. 

The Spanish state prosecutor’s office — Fiscalía — on Monday asked Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena to issue a new European arrest warrant for the two MEPs, Spanish news outlets reported, for the crime of embezzlement.

The news comes less than a month after the EU’s General Court ruled that Puigdemont, Comín and fellow MEP Clara Ponsatí should be stripped of their parliamentary immunity, paving the way for their extradition and prosecution.

Puigdemont can appeal that ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union, something he said he is planning to do. But Spanish outlets reported that an appeal would not cause the ruling to be suspended.

Puigdemont fled Spain for Belgium in the immediate aftermath of the 2017 Catalan independence referendum.

News of the prosecutors’ request comes a day after an inconclusive national election in Spain that could result in Puigdemont and his Junts party being kingmakers.

The center-right Popular Party won the most votes on Sunday but did not get enough seats to form a government. That means the Socialists of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez could govern if they can get support from Basque and Catalan nationalists — including Junts.

After news of the warrant request broke, Puigdemont tweeted, “One day you are decisive in order to form a Spanish government, the next day Spain orders your arrest.”

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