Spain's Attorney General has made a request for a previously issued European Arrest Warrant, naming Catalan ex-President Carles Puigdemont, to be reactivated.
Spain’s Supreme Court was handed the petition to reactivate the warrant which was canceled in Dec. The reactivated warrant will only be valid in Denmark, where Puigdemont has traveled to for a debate. TV2 released an image of the ex Catalan leader flanked by reporters after deplaning at Copenhagen Airport.
A source in his entourage also confirmed his arrival in the Danish capital.
Pablo Llarena, the judge in charge of the case against Puigdemont, will rule on the request to reactive the warrant. Madrid made the request following Puigdemont's first trip outside of Belgium. Puigdemont is expected to participate in an early afternoon debate at the University of Copenhagen.
“The whole world is very frightened seeing the force with which the Spanish state is acting,” Puigdemont's attorney, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, said, adding that the risk of his client being rearrested is high.
If the arrest warrant is reactivated, the former Catalan head of state faces detention within 24 hours, prior to the extradition request being put before a judge.
The former president is actively seeking to be re-inaugurated to the office from which he was ousted. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy vowed to prevent his return. But, reports are that newly installed speaker of the Catalan parliament, Roger Torrent, is expected to announce Puigdemont as the sole nominee for the region's presidency.
Madrid had informed Puigdemont that a bid for extradition would be reopened if he left Belgium, where he has been residing for the past 80 days.
The former Catalan president along with four members of his cabinet fled his home country after the Spanish Government imposed direct rule on the region. But, he hopes to be sworn in via video link or by using an MPs to read his candidate speech if he is re-invested as the new leader of Catalonia at the end of Jan. However, Rajoy has said Puigdemont must attend the investiture debates in person.
“It’s absurd that someone may intend to be a candidate to be the head of the regional government while being in Brussels and running away from justice,” Rajoy said. “This is no longer just a judicial and political problem. This a problem of pure common sense.”
The Spanish government assumed control of Catalonia on Oct. 27 after Puigdemont’s then-government held an illegal referendum to unilaterally declared independence.
Puigdemont risks being arrest on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds if he returns to Spain.