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The Spanish Constitutional Court has this Tuesday rejected an appeal and request for interim measures by Carles Puigdemont, Antoni Comín, Clara Ponsatí and Lluís Puig i Gordi in the case against them presented by Supreme Court investigating judge Pablo Llarena. The constitutional body has thus confirmed the decision taken in March not to preventively suspend the arrest warrants against these four exiled Catalan politicians.

The exiles lodged an appeal against the resolutions of October 14th and November 4th, 2019, under which Spanish, European and international arrest warrants were issued against them, as well as against the successive actions that confirmed these initial decisions.

The court's decision to dismiss the appeal confirms the decision taken on March 16th, 2021 not to suspend the warrants on an urgent basis without hearing the other party, as the Consitutional Court states in a press release.

Effective protection is not violated

The judges have concluded that that decision was respectful of Puigdemont's right to effective judicial protection under the Spanish Constitution and did not violate his right to interim precautionary protection because the Court simultaneously opened a separate part of the case relating to the interim measures which were subject to adversarial proceedings.

For its part, the decision not to suspend the validity of the arrest warrants when constitutionally challenged is based on a consolidated doctrine, which denies interim suspension in procedures relating to preventative measures depriving a party of liberty or susceptible of having an impact on the right to personal liberty. 

The Court has indicated that, in the preventative part of the case which had been opened, suspending an appeal for constitutional protection as an interim measure, adopted by an ordinary judicial organ and over a matter which forms the main object of this appeal for protection, would mean an early resolution of the merits of the appeal.

The Constitutional Court backs Llarena

The Constitutional Court thus backs the Supreme Court's Pablo Llarena, who is maintaining his efforts to seat the exiled Catalan politicians in the dock, and asserts that the possibility of extradition via Italy remains open. Just as last week he sent a letter to the Court of Sassari asserting that the arrest warrant for Carles Puigdemont is still in force, yesterday he did the same with reference to the warrants for the arrest of the exiled ministers Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí. The two former members of Puigdemont's government landed in l'Alguer along with Puigdemont, but contrary to what happened last week with the former Catalan president, no one was waiting to arrest Comín or Ponsatí. And indeed, when Puigdemont declared on Monday, it was after being released with no bail measures the week previously.

Pablo Llarena, the investigating judge for the case, "taking into consideration the news reports stating that Clara Ponsatí i Obiols and Antoni Comín i Oliveres had travelled to Sardinia on the occasion of a judicial hearing for which Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó was summonsed", communicated the possibility of arresting the Catalan pair to the Court of Appeal of Sassari (Italy), as well as stating that the situation of the arrest warrants for those defendants was the same as the one communicated on September 30th, 2021 regarding Carles Puigdemont.

The communication was based on article 9.1 of Framework Decision 2002/584 / JHA, concerning European Arrest Warrants and the surrender procedures between Member States and states that "when the whereabouts of the wanted person are known, the issuing judicial authority may communicate directly to the judicial authority executing the European Arrest Warrant", but it also notes that the news reported by the media could not be confirmed by the Spanish judicial authority.