Exiled Catalan leader trying to avoid extradition in Belgium


BRUSSELS — Ousted Catalan chief Carles Puigdemont was a needed man after Spain issued a European warrant for his arrest — and the primary query Saturday was how lengthy he might delay the extradition course of in Belgium and keep out of the arms of Spanish justice.

Puigdemont and a number of other aides fled to Belgium after they have been fired by Spanish authorities after lawmakers in Catalonia voted to declare independence from Spain regardless of repeated warnings that it will violate the nation’s structure. It’s thought that each one 5 are nonetheless hiding in Belgium — their actual whereabouts are unclear.

The deepening disaster over Catalonia is Spain’s worst constitutional problem in almost 4 many years. Puigdemont and the 4 different former ministers are being searched for 5 totally different crimes, together with rebel, sedition and embezzlement in a Spanish investigation into their roles in pushing for secession for Catalonia.

However the longer he can delay, the extra he can stretch out the authorized timetable for any extradition course of to Spain and maybe be an element and even run within the Dec. 21 regional election that Spanish authorities have referred to as for Catalonia. Authorized specialists have informed The Related Press that the entire course of in Belgium from arrest to extradition, together with appeals, might take about two months.

Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens stated his authorities could have no affect over the way forward for Puigdemont or the opposite Catalan officers as a result of the European arrest warrant “is a totally authorized process.”

He stated, in contrast to a traditional worldwide extradition, “the chief energy doesn’t play any position within the EAW process. All the things goes via direct contact between the justice authorities.”

Puigdemont’s Belgian lawyer didn’t reply calls requesting touch upon the arrest warrant however has stated his shopper will battle extradition to Spain with out in search of political asylum. Belgian federal prosecutors stated that they had acquired the arrest warrant late Friday and will query Puigdemont within the coming days.

“We’ll research it, and put it within the arms of an investigating decide,” prosecutors’ spokesman Eric Van Der Sijpt informed the AP. “That might be tomorrow, the day after and even Monday … we aren’t in any hurry.”

Puigdemont has stated he can be prepared to cooperate with the Belgian judiciary however that he had misplaced confidence in Spanish justice, which he claimed has grow to be politicized.

The difficulty of the worldwide arrest warrant by…



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