Spanish justice has withdrawn the European arrest warrants issued against the former Catalan separatist president and four of his former “ministers”, refugees in Belgium. This is a surprising judicial overthrow in the case of the five Catalan separatist leaders who were refugees in Belgium and claimed by the Spanish courts. A judge of the Spanish supreme court finally withdrew Tuesday, December 5, the European arrest warrant issued against the deposed Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and four of his advisers (“ministers”) who had fled to Belgium on October 29, sought in particular for rebellion, sedition and embezzlement for declaring unilateral independence as illegal. A “collective” crime This annulment puts an end to the procedure opened in Belgium to find out if they should be deported to Spain. “The fear of Spain , writes the daily El País , was that the Belgian justice refuses to act against the former president for rebellion, a crime that has no exact equivalent in the Belgian Penal Code. ” In this case, the five men, in case of expulsion, could not have been accused of this offense in Spain. The investigating judge of the Supreme Court considers that the offense of rebellion is “collective” – It also concerns the ten separatist leaders accused of the same offense, four of whom are in pre-trial detention in Madrid and six others were released on bail. “Puigdemont will not leave Belgium” If the five separatists refugees in Belgium could not be tried for rebellion, “The paradox would be that those who fled would have found themselves in a more advantageous situation than those who remained in Spain”, continues El País which adds : Since arrest warrants have been issued, reports the judge, the suspects have run for Catalan elections [scheduled for December 21] from which one can deduce their intention to return to Spain. ” However, they would be immediately detained there. Reprinted by the Belgian newspaper Echo , Carles Puigdemont’s lawyer, Paul Bekaert, said that his client “Will not leave Belgium following the withdrawal of the European arrest warrant”.

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