Spain drops European warrant against leader
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Spain has withdrawn a European arrest warrant for Catalonia’s sacked leader Carles Puigdemont and four of his deputies, who fled to Belgium after the regional Parliament declared unilateral independence, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday. In a ruling, Judge Pablo Llarena decided to withdraw the warrant as the five “appear to have shown their intention to return to Spain” to take part in regional elections on December 21.
But Mr. Llarena, who is in charge of the case, has retained the Spanish arrest warrant, which means they will be detained upon arrival in the country, court sources said. The judge said the European warrant would complicate the overall probe into the region’s leaders. He said Belgium could reject some of the reasons for the warrant, meaning it could agree to the extradition of Mr. Puigdemont and the four others — but with restrictions, and only for certain offences.
The unexpected decision comes a day after Mr. Puigdemont and his four colleagues attended an extradition hearing in Brussels, with the Belgian judge due to give a decision on December 14.