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Belgian justice will decide on February 18th about the future of the European Arrest Warrant against Catalan politicians in exile Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín, and on the 24th about the case of their colleague Lluís Puig. This was the statement by defence lawyers after the hearing this Monday at which Puig appeared before the judge who is studying the warrant issued by Spain's Supreme Court.

The Belgian prosecutor has requested that the warrant affecting Puigdemont and Comín should be suspended, pending the European Parliament's decision on their continuing immunity as MEPs. In the event that their immunity was waived, the extradition procedure would continue.

In the view of the defence, led by lawyer Gonzalo Boye, the warrants must be annulled definitively and returned to Spain, given that the now-serving MEPs acquired their immunity with retroactive effect and were, therefore, already covered by it when this European arrest warrant was issued. The defence believes that the annulment should also cover the case of Lluís Puig, given that he is included in the same arrest warrant as Comín and Ponsatí, now immune.

Subsequently, on February 24th there will be a second hearing to decide on the substance of the case, and to specify whether the decision on the 18th to suspend or annul the Puigdemont and Comín warrants also affects exiled Catalan culture minister Puig. However, Boye has commented that "if the warrant is rejected on the 18th and this affects Puig, there will be no hearing on the 24th".

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