Spain asks Belgium again for extradition of Catalan politician

Photo by Toimetaja tõlkebüroo on Unsplash

The former Catalan region president Carles Puigdemont has reported to the Belgian judiciary in Brussels. The Spanish Supreme Court issued a European arrest warrant against him again on Monday for his role in the illegal referendum in Catalonia in 2017. In it, the population declared itself in favor of independence.

For the third time, Brussels has received a European request from Madrid to hand over Puigdemont quickly. The previous two times, in 2017 and 2018, the requests failed due to legal tug-of-war, among other things about the conditions of surrender.

Puigdemont rejects the arrest warrant and opposes an attempt to extradite him. He may freely await a decision on this by a Belgian judge, but may not leave Belgium without court permission.

Puigdemont fled to Belgium in October 2017, after the Spanish justice had summoned him to appear before a court to organize the referendum and attempted separation. On Monday, the Spanish Supreme Court imposed years of imprisonment on supporters of Puigdemont for their role in the referendum.

Spain has been trying for some time to get Catalan politicians behind bars. Last year he was arrested in Germany at the request of Spain, among other things because he was suspected of rebellion in Spain. Because someone in Germany cannot be extradited due to this suspicion, Spain had to withdraw the request. Puigdemont returned to Belgium and founded a new Catalan independence movement.

In Catalonia, following the conviction of Puigdemont's supporters last Monday, serious unrest broke out. Trade unions called for a strike. As a result, public life in Catalonia is again disrupted by strikes by two unions. They try to lay life down as much as possible. In recent days, thousands of people have taken to the streets in the cities of Barcelona, Girona and Tarragona. During the demonstrations, fighting with the police often occurred.