The Spanish judge Pablo Llarena, instructor of the case for the secessionist attempt in the Spanish region of Catalonia in 2017, paused on Wednesday the reactivation of the Euro-orders against the Catalan separatists Carles Puigdemont and Antoni Comín until the European Justice resolves on their immunity as MEPs.
The Spanish Prosecutor’s Office and the private prosecution asked Llarena last Monday to reactivate the international arrest warrants against Puigdemont and Comín for a crime of embezzlement, which would entail a prison sentence of between six and twelve years due to the high amount of funds that presumably they would have diverted.
In a letter, Llarena responds that he takes these requests into account, but prefers to wait for the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to rule on the measures that both propose in their appeals to restore their immunity as MEPs, withdrawn by the General Court of the European Union (TGUE) on July 5.
Puigdemont and Comín may appeal the TGUE ruling within a period of 2 months and 10 days, that is, until September 15, 2023.
In this sense, Llarena explains that any Euro-order issued now would be immediately paralyzed before reaching its objective if the CJEU admits the precautionary measure that is requested in the eventual appeals of Puigdemont and Comín.
In its petition, the Prosecutor’s Office maintained that the requirements established in the law of mutual recognition of criminal decisions in the EU were met, which allows the Spanish justice system to issue an arrest and surrender order when the crimes prosecuted imply a prison sentence of at least twelve months.
It added that “the withdrawal of immunity by the European Parliament has been confirmed by the TGUE so that taking into account their personal situation – fled from justice and in absentia – it is appropriate to issue new international and European arrest warrants for both defendants for the crimes specified in the order of January 12, 2023”.
In that order, issued after the reform of the Spanish Criminal Code that repealed the crime of sedition and modified that of embezzlement, Llarena adapted the accusation to Puigdemont and Comín, limiting it to the crimes of embezzlement and disobedience.