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In Monday's televised debate ahead of Sunday's Spanish general election, acting prime minister Pedro Sánchez promised to "bring Puigdemont to Spain" to stand trial. Far from backing down from the statement, he doubled down in an interview this morning: "We're already doing it". He noted that it was the public prosecution service that asked for the new European Arrest Warrant against Puigdemont, and asked: "Who does the public prosecution service depend on? Well, there you go."

Unión Progresista de Fiscales, a professional association for Spanish public prosecutors, reacted quickly, writing on Twitter that they are "autonomous of the government, of any government, and they cannot give orders to the Attorney General. Let it be clear."


Another group, Asociación de Fiscales, made a similar statement in which they "remind the acting head of government that the public prosecution service is independent and doesn't obey orders from the executive." They say comments like those which Sánchez made "don't line up with reality and create an unacceptable confusion among the public".

Asociación Profesional e Independiente de Fiscales (APIF), meanwhile, says directly that "Sánchez is wrong". They note that he cannot, by law, give orders to prosecutors, but "maybe he means ignoring the law, but that's another story".

The article cited by APIF says the executive can appeal for prosecutors to take "relevant actions" before the courts "in order to defend the public interest". It's then up to a board of senior prosecutors to review the "viability" of the actions and explain its reasoning to the government whether or not they will pursue them.