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Spain court revokes European arrest warrant for Catalonia's Carles Puigdemont

06 December 2017, 01:17 | Darnell Patrick

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Why the colour yellow has become contentious in Catalonia

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Why the colour yellow has become contentious in Catalonia

Although the European Union and global arrest warrants have been withdrawn, the Spanish arrest warrants still remain and the five ex-officials will be arrested when they return to Spain.

The decision does not mean that Puigdemont, who faces charges of rebellion, would not be arrested if he returned to Spain, where he is still wanted by judicial authorities.

Tuesday's action leaves Puigdemont and the ex-officials with two options - return to Spain and be arrested or remain in self-imposed exile. The charges carry maximum penalties of decades in prison.

"We also highlighted the danger for the impediment of their human rights in Spain", Bekaert said.

On Tuesday, campaigning began for the December 21 Catalan regional election that Madrid called in an attempt to resolve the crisis by installing an administration in favor of Spanish unity.

The ruling also coincided with the official opening on Tuesday of the campaign before the December 21 elections for a new regional Parliament in Catalonia.

The three parties opposed to independence would get 44.3% of the votes and gain 59 to 60 seats, the poll suggested.

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A government-run poll published Monday indicated that pro-independence parties would lose their slim majority in Catalonia's parliament.

The CIS survey said the poll had a margin of error of 1.8 percentage points.

With political campaigning not set to get underway until midnight, Catalan pro-independence groups held protests in front of town halls to oppose the Supreme Court's decision to keep some of the independence movement's leaders in custody.

The poll, in which 3,000 people were interviewed, said just over 90% of those questioned were completely certain to vote in the elections while five percent will "probably" go.

Junqueras, who tops the list for the left-republican ERC party, last week pledged to abandon efforts to seek unilateral independence, alongside other political detainees, in the hope of securing release.

The judge's decision follows mounting concerns among Spanish legal experts that the Belgian judiciary could in effect limit the range of crimes for which Mr. Puigdemont and the others could be put on trial if brought back to Madrid from Brussels.

The Spanish supreme court has withdrawn a European arrest warrant for the ousted president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont.



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