Carles Puigdemont was arrested this Thursday in Sardinia. The former Catalan president was persecuted by the justice in Spain since 2017 when the referendum and the Unilateral Declaration of Independence took place, after which the Supreme Court opened a case against the independence leaders. Puigdemont has been arrested by the Italian authorities for the international search warrant issued by the Supreme Court after the 2019 procés sentence. According to sources familiar with his situation, the former identity is at the Italian airport police station.
It is the second time that Puigdemont has been detained outside of Spain by order of the Supreme Court. On the previous occasion, he was held in Germany until a court refused to extradite him to Spain. This is the chronology of the former president’s flight and his two arrests.
October 1, 2017. The independence referendum is held. Police and Civil Guard are deployed to avoid voting in schools, suspended by the Justice. There are police charges and there are dozens of injured in many voting centers in Catalonia. The Government assures at the end of the day that 90% of the voters have opted for “yes”.
October 16, 2017. The then judge of the National Court Carmen Lamela sent to prison the leaders of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Jordi Sánchez; and from Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, los Jords’, for promoting the harassment of the Ministry of Economy during a police operation that sought proof of the preparation of the referendum.
October 27, 2017. The Parliament, in the absence of the opposition, declares the independence of Catalonia. The Senate supports with votes of PP and PSOE the application of article 155 of the Constitution and the Government, then chaired by Mariano Rajoy, dismisses Puigdemont and his Government takes control of the Catalan administration.
October 29, 2017. Before the foreseeable action of Justice Puigdemont flees to Brussels with former councilors Antoni Comín, Clara Ponsatí, Lluis Puig and Meritxell Serret. He is also accompanied by Dolors Bassa and Joaquim Forn, but they returned to Spain to testify before the National Court when this court imputed the entire Government.
October 30, 2017. The State Attorney General’s Office is complaining in the National Court against Puigdemont and his 13 advisers for rebellion, sedition and embezzlement, and in the Supreme Court against the former president of the Parliament Carme Forcadell and five members of the Table – arrested before that court – who processed the declaration of independence.
November 2, 2017. The judge of the National Court Carmen Lamela imputes, takes a statement and sends to prison without bail the former vice president Oriol Junqueras and seven former councilors (Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Meritxell Borràs, Raül Romeva, Carles Mundó, Dolors Bassa and Joaquim Forn). Santi Vila imposes a deposit of 50,000 euros, which he pays the next day. Lamela ordered the arrest of Puigdemont and the fled former councilors the next day.
November 9, 2017. The cause begins in the Supreme. The president of the Parliament, Carme Forcadell, enters prison on bail of 150,000 euros by order of the investigating judge Pablo Llarena, who decrees bail for the members of the Table. Forcadell pays and only spends one night in prison. The November 24, Judge Llarena unifies the case and remains with the investigation open in the National Court: the entire case of procés goes on to be investigated by the Supreme Court.
December 4, 2017. Former councilors Romeva, Mundó, Rull and Turull are released from prison after posting bail, but return to prison a few months later, the 23 March 2018, when they are prosecuted for crimes of rebellion and embezzlement, among others. That same day he issued a European and international arrest warrant against Carles Puigdemont, who took him on a trip to Finland.
March 25, 2018. Two days after the arrest warrant, the German police located Puigdemont as he was crossing the border by car from Denmark to Belgium, where he had established his residence. The expresident is admitted to the Neumünster prison.
April 5, 2018. The German Prosecutor’s Office requests the extradition of Puigdemont to Spain, but the Schweslig Holstein Court rejects that he has committed the crime of rebellion in Spain and releases him on bail of 75,000 euros. The decision you make on the crime of embezzlement, for which Spain also claims you is pending.
July 10, 2018. Judge Llarena closes the investigation and declares the fled defendants in absentia, for whom he opens a separate piece. It decrees the suspension of public office of Puigdemont, Junqueras and four other jailed Catalan deputies.
July 12, 2018. The German court that rejects the crime of rebellion does agree to extradite Puigdemont for embezzlement. However, Judge Llarena rejects him because that would prevent him from being tried for the most serious crime. It then suspends the European search warrants. Belgium had already rejected them for the rest of the former directors due to a formal defect.
November 2, 2018. The Prosecutor’s Office accuses nine independence leaders of rebellion in the Supreme Court and asks for 25 years in prison for Junqueras and 17 for Forcadell and the Jordis. The State Attorney opts to accuse him of sedition and asks for 12 years for the former vice president.
February 12, 2019. Start the trial of the process. For weeks all the accused and hundreds of witnesses testify, among whom were Mariano Rajoy, Cristóbal Montoro, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría or Artur Mas. Ends on June 13th after 52 sessions.
May 26, 2019. Puigdemont, Comín and Junqueras – the latter in prison – are elected MEPs. The first two acquire immunity from their position. Ponsatí succeeded later after the resignation of the English MEPs.
Oct 14, 2019. The Supreme Court publishes the judgment of the procés and chooses to convict the defendants for sedition and not for rebellion: sentence to 13 years in prison for Junqueras, 11 and a half years for Forcadell and 9 for the ‘Jordis’; Imposes 12 years in prison for ex-councilors Romeva, Turull and Bassa and 10 and a half for Forn and Rull.
Oct 15, 2019. After the sentence, the Supreme Court reactivates the Euro arrest warrants, this time for sedition and embezzlement, which it sends to Belgium and Scotland, where Clara Ponsatí is located. Three days later, Puigdemont appears before the Belgian Prosecutor’s Office; the judge releases him without bail on the condition that he is locatable.
Dec 19, 2019. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that the ERC leader, Oriol Junqueras, should have been recognized as a MEP and have enjoyed immunity after the European elections. The ruling affects Puigdemont and Comín, which on January 6 are recognized as MEPs.
Jan 2, 2019. The Belgian Justice suspends the European arrest warrant issued by Pablo Llarena against Puigdemont and Comín. The judge who had to decide if he agreed to surrender to Spain considers that, after the judgment of the CJEU, both enjoy the immunity granted by their act of MEPs.
January 10, 2020. Judge Llarena asks the European Parliament for a request to suspend the immunity of Puigdemont and Comín.
August 7, 2020. A Brussels judge denies the delivery of Lluís Puig to Spain because he understands that the competent body to instruct the case is not the Supreme Court, but a Catalan court. The Brussels Appeal Chamber ratifies the judge’s decision on January 7, 2021.
March 3, 2021. Puigdemont loses immunity in a vote in the European Parliament.
March 9, 2021. Judge Llarena sends seven preliminary questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to prevent the Belgian magistrates from repeating with the former president the refusal to extradite Lluís Puig. Based on the response of the CJEU, which has not yet ruled, Judge Llarena indicates that he will withdraw, maintain or issue a new extradition request.
May 20, 2021. Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí appeal to the General Court of the European Union (TGUE) for the loss of immunity. The court accepts the requested provisional measures and the June 2nd restores immunity to the former president and former councilors.
July 30, 2021. The European Justice rejects the precautionary measures requested by Puigdemont, Ponsatí and Comín against the lifting of immunity voted in the European Parliament. Of course, it considers the Euroorders suspended while the preliminary questions presented by the Supreme Court are resolved.
September 23, 2021. Puigdemont is arrested in Sardinia.