The arrest unleashed a whore and that is not by chance
I’m a cheeky copycat. I have plagiarized the headline from the comrades of the newspaper “La Repubblica”, who carried it as is on their front page. Journalists are stimulated by unknowns, or should, and it is still significant that they in Rome and I in Madrid ask ourselves many similar questions. Asking questions is our job and trying to answer them even more. Beyond the purely legal issues, which are not so complex, and which jurists without earmuffs understand perfectly, and this has been done by the Italian Prosecutor’s Office and the Italian judge, there are quite a few dark areas to clear around the administrative and judicial procedure that led to in the fleeting arrest of Puigdemont in Sardinia. In Law, as you know, the forms are the background, they are created to protect it, and that is why it is so relevant to ask oneself about them.
Puigdemont had traveled in recent months to the Netherlands, France, Germany and Switzerland and in no case did an international alert or any incident occur. The premise considered by the General Court of the European Union (TGUE) for not granting the very precautionary measures was: “There is nothing to consider that the Belgian judicial authorities or that the authorities of another Member State can execute the European arrest warrants issued against the deputies and hand them over to the Spanish authorities “and that because when submitting a preliminary ruling on the OED, as Llarena did, it is mandatory to raise them. It happens that Italy has. But Italy does not jump any automatic and computerized alarm, as Spain has been led to believe, but they got to know it by other means. “That a person affected by a European arrest warrant arrived on that plane is information that the border police had acquired since the previous day under a monitoring activity that is usually reserved for questions like these,” is the response that journalists Italians have received from their police authorities. In other words, the border police of a small town in Corsica have known since the day before that Puigdemont was going to arrive and that he had to be arrested. How? Through whom? Is this common? Don’t they inform their superiors and they inform their minister of such a thing? A vice president of the Italian Senate, Calderoli (of the Northern League) offers an answer: “We can hold an obscure Sardinian official responsible but it seems to me that we would do better by looking at the chain of command.” Stay with this corporal because given that in Italy they also freak out with history, that the Italian Government was taken by surprise -both its Minister of the Interior, as well as ours- and that as soon as the arrest in the Alpine country was known “it was unleashed a whore “, it turns out that everything does not respond to such a common mechanism.
The Spanish police, for their part, have told Spanish journalists of The Spanish that the entire police leadership meeting in Valladolid was following this matter moment by moment. “We found out at 19.30 when we received a call”, which does not clarify from whom. At that moment, Puigdemont had been in the air for half an hour. The bird was in the cage already -although half an hour late- because as is known from a plane you cannot get off while moving. Whose call was it? From Sardinian monitors directly to DAO? Someone picked up the phone to notify the Spanish police leadership after boarding in Brussels. The Belgian authorities? It will be that no. Who?
These same police sources are the ones who have stated that it is only “at nightfall” that they receive the SIRENE alert (request for additional information) to confirm the alert from the Schengen SIS system and that only then did they confirm that the OED was in force. . It must be at this time when they say they have contacted the Supreme Court magistrate directly – at that time there is not even Peter in that court – to confirm through the system that it was effective. At 11:25 p.m., Puigdemont’s rights were read and he was arrested. Early in the morning, Judge Llarena sends an official letter to the representative of Spain in Eurojust, the former magistrate of the AN, De la Mata, so that he can refer the OED to the Sassoli court, and in it he communicates that “the procedure is active and pending the capture of the defendants in absentia “and at the same time is accompanied by the preliminary ruling submitted to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)” whose processing does not modify the situation in which the procedure is currently, without prejudice to the fact that it must conform in its day to the interpretation of European law made by the CJEU “. So Llarena reaffirms that the Euroorder against Puigdemont was never withdrawn and that it is in force.
That is not what the State Bar, which informed the TGUE in this regard, or the TGUE itself thinks, since they all interpret that Llarena has complied with the legal requirement to withdraw the BEDs when asking the Luxembourg court about them. Why did no one, not even the interested party, know that they were active? Here comes another one of the mysteries. On the first business day in the Supreme Court after the decision of the TGUE, on September 1, Puigdemont’s legal representation went personally to the court to ask to see the piece of the personal situation of his client. In that piece you will find all the documentation related to his judicial situation and, therefore, also the European arrest warrants. Despite being duly in person, and being mandatory to allow the defense to access the documentation, they are told that they must request it in writing, which they do that same day. The Chamber, however, does not respond in writing but through an informal call to the attorney in which it is announced that they must state exactly what documents they want to see “because the piece is very voluminous.” Last Wednesday the 22nd, a day before the arrest, through the same unofficial call from an official to the attorney, they were informed that they had Friday the 24th as a limit to clarify what they specifically want to see in order to obtain a response and that, if necessary. Otherwise, the petition will be rejected. In short, that throughout the month the defenders of Puigdemont could not verify as they wanted if the OED was active or not and that the time management is perfect so that that trip could not have been aborted.
All this is important because the difference between a lawyer and a court of Justice is that the former is fully entitled to create defense strategies, but the latter cannot draw up “jurisdictional strategies.” Judge Llarena does not have to make moves on any chessboard. It has to limit itself to raising its questions and waiting for the judicial rhythms to resolve the issues. It is not proper of judges to act with a doublet. It is not your mission. It is the police who have to make the defendants available to them and there is no justice judge, although the Supreme Court seems to think so.
The doubts about Llarena’s performance are perfectly understandable. Apparently the explanation given, to those who do not want to wonder too much, is that the magistrate presented the preliminary question to know if Belgium is applying the OED correctly in the Luis Puig procedure and that, therefore, he limited himself to withdrawing the euroorden of Luis Puig and not the others. That would be a trilera action, given that in the order in which the preliminary rulings were agreed on March 9, it mentions them all – including Puigdemont – as accused parties and because of the seven questions that the Spanish magistrate raised to the CJEU, two were about the ex-minister Lluis Puig and five about Puigdemont. So, according to the sources that I have been able to consult, neither the State Attorney nor the TGUE itself could have thought that the European arrest warrant against Puigdemont had not been lifted as well.
Where did this police monitoring operation come from to try to get from Italy what was not obtained from Germany or Belgium and was not attempted in the Netherlands or France? To this obvious question, which the Italian journalists also posed to the Undersecretary of the Border Service, he replied: “the French are the French and we are Italians” and in other sources it became “our police are more rigid than in other states. “.
Didn’t Marlaska know about this monitoring? “It was a surprise, I had knowledge when it was communicated from Italy,” he said. Have you been bypassed again? An arrest that would have been resolved with a surrender – which will not happen – would have meant an earthquake in the expectations of the Spanish government coalition. It has also brought problems for Draghi with his partners and that suggests that it was not the governments of either of the two countries that ordered to “monitor” Puigdemont’s displacements. The truth is that the Italian Prosecutor’s Office was clear from the first moment that the decision of July 30 of the TGUE says that the MEP Puigdemont has freedom of movement as long as the court does not resolve the merits of his case: if his immunity was withdrawn in accordance with the law by the Europarliament.
All this is important, of course it is important. If Justice has to judge Puigdemont, it has to do so respecting all the rules and without taking any shortcut. This is no one’s personal matter. This is an issue in which the prestige of Spain and its Supreme Court can be on the ground and the trust of European partners and institutions as well.
This is not about whether or not each of us is happy that Puigdemont falls into a trap and ends up in Soto del Real. It’s about really important things. No, Puigdemont was not deliberately detained. No, the State Bar and the Government did not “make a mistake” or deceive anyone. Here the gaze and the questions must go in another direction if one is looking for any truth.