The Spanish public prosecutors assigned to the Supreme Court pro-independence leaders' case have asked investigating judge Pablo Llarena to maintain the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued for Carles Puigdemont, as well as other precautionary measures against the exiled Catalan president. They have also requested the European Parliament to suspend the parliamentary immunity he was confirmed to have by last week's EU court ruling.
In a text which also refers to fellow exiled Catalan politican Toni Comín, dated December 20th, the prosecutors acting in the case against the pro-independence leaders have requested that this information be given to the Belgian judge who has to decide on the EAWs, so that "the deadlines for the resolution of the warrants" will not apply until the European Parliament decides whether to suspend immunity.
Situation of default
In their submission, the prosecutors insist that Puigdemont and Comín are "in a situation of default" through their failure to report to Spanish justice and note that an order for provisional prison had been issued against them, as well as arrest warrants for "very serious" crimes.
The prosecution says that in spite of the EU court ruling, the precautionary measures that judge Llarena has already agreed upon are "absolutely legitimized and justified" and must be maintained not only "due to the gravity of the crimes and penalties", but also "due to the need" that they respond to the charges they are accused of and to "avoid criminal repetition".
They justify this position by the fact that Puigdemont and Comín's election as MEPs took place when the legal process against them had already begun and therefore they "were fully aware of the limitations that their procedural situation implied for the exercise of their political rights".
Puigdemont rejects "living" in Catalonia
Whatever the intentions of the prosecutors, Carles Puigdemont has said: "I won't come back to Catalonia to live in my house normally. I have to continue to fight from a free place." Interviewed by the radio station RAC1 on Monday, he also mentioned he might visit a place very close to home: "Northern Catalonia is not Spain. Perpinyà is Catalonia. I would very enthusiastic about an event or meeting in Perpignan.
However, he emphasized: "Although we have immunity, things are not normal. As long as political prisoners are being held, we can't act normally. Exile is and will be a tool for struggle. If we hadn't been here we wouldn't have been able to enter the Parliament in Strasbourg." Puigdemont also commented that he and Toni Comín would "go and do the paperwork" the Parliament had asked of them, saying he believed that they would be "given their definitive passes" as MEPs.