Tuesday, October 19

ANALYSIS | Ten keys about the detention in Sardinia of Carles Puigdemont, by Ignacio Escolar

1- The former president of the Generalitat Carles Puigdemont is currently detained in Sardinia, in a prison in Sassari; it will soon go to court.

It is possible that, in a short time, you will be released. It is possible that they put him on a plane on his way to Spain, where he would await a trial in the Supreme Court for sedition.

Both things can happen and it will depend, to a large extent, on how the Italian Justice interprets the decision taken by the General Court of the European Union (TGUE) on Puigdemont’s immunity as a MEP.

2. The legal debate on whether or not the Catalan leader has immunity as an MEP comes from afar, with some previous chapters – such as the ruling on the immunity of Oriol Junqueras – in which I will not elaborate. This chronology helps to understand it in its entirety.

On March 9, 2021, the European Parliament voted to remove Puigdemont’s immunity. That same day, a few hours later, Supreme Judge Pablo Llarena presented a preliminary ruling on the extradition of Puigdemont and other pro-independence leaders before the Superior Court of Justice of the EU.

With that chess move, Llarena tried to avoid a new setback from Belgian justice, which had already denied him the delivery of former minister Lluis Puig.

Puigdemont’s lawyers appealed to the TGUE to regain their immunity. And at first, on June 2, they agreed. But on July 30, that same court changed its decision and eliminated that immunity, which protects any MEP “against any measure of arrest and any judicial action” in a country of the European Union.

3. the order of the TGUE of July 30, where the immunity of Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí is withdrawn, it has many nuances that it is important to explain today.

The argument that the court gave to withdraw the protection is that there was really no risk that Puigdemont would be arrested. Something that was also based on what the State attorney representing Spain before this court, Sonsoles Centeno Huerta, said.

“There is no procedure for executing the aforementioned arrest warrants,” said this State attorney in her briefs before the court, which also alleged that the preliminary ruling raised by Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena before the European justice “supposes the suspension of national arrest warrants “.

4. That same TGUE car gives another clue of what can now happen. Because the court does warn that, if necessary, immunity could be recovered for Puigdemont. The former president’s lawyers have already announced that in the next few hours they will ask the TGUE to return immunity to Puigdemont.

5. From the Supreme Court they are cautious about what may happen. They are scared by what happened before in Germany, when Puigdemont was also arrested. At that time the Supreme Court – and most of the media – assumed that Puigdemont would be extradited, and he was not.

6. Despite the precautions, in the Supreme there are also optimists who believe that Puigdemont could be sent to Spain on this occasion. And they argue that the decision will not depend so much on the TGUE, but on the same legal debate that took place before in Germany: if there is an Italian Penal Code equivalent to the Spanish crime of sedition. And if therefore he can be extradited.

7. In recent months, since his immunity was lifted, Puigdemont has been to Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and France. His last trip was to Paris. It was not exactly a clandestine visit: he met with several parliamentarians in the National Assembly of France. There was no arrest on this occasion.

8. Why in Italy yes and not before? There are two theories, both yet to be confirmed. The first, that the Supreme Court did notify the Italian Justice of this trip, calculating that it was the best country to attempt the extradition. From the surroundings of Puigdemont they assure that the Spanish press learned of the arrest even before the former president was formally detained. A fact that would show, according to their suspicions, that the Supreme Court is behind what happened and knew what was going to happen.

The second, that this may all be a bureaucratic problem. Sources from the Public Prosecutor’s Office believe that the arrest of Puigdemont in Sardinia may respond to an error in the system of ‘flags’ of the Euro-orders; that Italy was not applying in its databases the same exception that Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and France have registered, where there was no arrest.

9. Did the government know? It seems that no, that he found out from the press about Puigdemont’s arrest.

For the Government, and for ERC, what happened is a bomb on the recently opened dialogue table. Both parties in that negotiation have reacted as expected: protecting their rear, the flanks that, on the one hand and on the other, pressure them not to agree. In the case of the Government, remembering that Puigdemont is subject to what the Justice says, like any other citizen. In that of ERC, condemning “the repression of the Spanish State.”

10. It remains to be seen whether Puigdemont’s arrest will mean his extradition on this occasion. There are many doubts, although it could be. But from the outset he has already achieved something: complicate a dialogue that many want to burst.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *