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Puigdemont's judicial horizon is complicated after his impeachment in the Supreme Court for the cause of the 'Democratic Tsunami'

MADRID, 2 Mar.

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Puigdemont's judicial horizon is complicated after his impeachment in the Supreme Court for the cause of the 'Democratic Tsunami'


The judicial horizon of the former Catalan president and Junts MEP Carles Puigdemont is complicated after the decision of the Supreme Court to open a criminal case against him for an alleged crime of terrorism in relation to the actions of the independence platform 'Tsunami Democràtic' in October 2019 This new accusation gives rise to new aspects that would foreseeably include a new request to the European Parliament, subject to an eventual amnesty and the European elections.

It was this Thursday, February 29, when the Supreme Court ruled on the request of the judge of the National Court Manuel García Castellón that the high court take over the investigation of Puigdemont due to the legal status that he enjoys as a MEP. That same day, he appointed Judge Susana Polo as the instructor of the procedure.

Thus, Polo will be in charge of directing the investigation into the Catalan leader. The Criminal Chamber has already warned that the pertinent thing would be to summon him to testify as an investigator, but the magistrate may also order other procedures, such as requesting reports from the judicial police or summoning witnesses to question them about the facts being investigated.

Regarding Puigdemont's summons, legal sources consulted by Europa Press explain that the instructor, in principle, can call him to give a voluntary statement. It is worth remembering, however, that Judge Pablo Llarena - instructor of the 'procés' case in the Supreme Court - already used this formula without success in the procedure related to the Catalan independence process and the illegal 1-O referendum in the that the 'expresident' is being prosecuted in absentia.

Puigdemont has been on the run from Spanish justice for more than six years and is currently under a national arrest warrant issued by Judge Llarena for the 'procés' case. However, the sources consulted explain that if he risked returning to Spain without the current amnesty - when technically he could be detained - it would not make sense to arrest him since the mere existence of a proposed amnesty law represents a "favorable prognosis." " for the independence leader.

In the event that he does not appear at Polo's call, the judge would have to request the request from the European Parliament, since Puigdemont enjoys parliamentary immunity due to his status as a MEP and that this is a different procedure than the one instructed by the judge. Llarena, who already had to go to the European Parliament at the time, so he would have to start from scratch. On this point, however, the sources consulted recall that the calendar in Brussels this year is affected by the elections on June 9.

It should be remembered that the Junts MEP maintains his immunity even though last July the General Court of the European Union (TGEU) withdrew it; This is because since an appeal has been filed by Puigdemont's defense, the decision is not yet final. In fact, Judge Llarena remains waiting for the matter to be resolved to decide whether or not to reactivate the European arrest warrant that was pending against him.

The sources consulted point out, however, that what the European justice decides on this point would only have effects on the procedure that Llarena is instructing regarding the 'procés' and not the case that Polo is instructing about 'Democratic Tsunami'.

On the sidelines, these sources add that if Puigdemont does not appear before the Supreme Court, the judge can issue a euro order. For this, the aforementioned request is also necessary.

Regarding the European order, the legal sources consulted emphasize that on this occasion the scenario could be different, given that this time it would be issued for a crime of terrorism - defined in the Spanish Penal Code, but also established in the 2017 European directive - and not for rebellion or sedition, as happened with the 'procés' cause and for which Belgium and Germany refused to hand over Puigdemont, since they alleged that these crimes were not punished in those countries.

Even so, the same sources point out that in relation to the former Catalan president, other countries could also take into consideration the political statements in which Spanish judges and, in particular, several judges of the Supreme Court are accused of alleged 'lawfare' for, somehow, reject the European arrest warrant.

Puigdemont's future will also depend on the result of the European elections. If he fails to renew his seat in the European Parliament, he would lose his parliamentary immunity, which would make it easier for Judge Polo to prosecute him for terrorism.

Likewise, it will be decisive whether or not the amnesty law that Junts and the PSOE have been negotiating is approved, and whether it forgives all terrorist crimes, as Puigdemont's party claims.

The version of the bill that Junts rejected on January 30 did not amnesty all terrorist crimes, but only those that had been committed without the express intention of killing or torturing. The live amendments that the independence party failed to put in place did shield all the accusations for this crime.

If the law is approved, the impact on Puigdemont's case will depend on the scope of the final text. Even so, the interim president of the Supreme Court himself, Judge Francisco Marín Castán, warned that all judges are "subject to the rule of law", but in case of doubts in the application of the law they can raise a question of unconstitutionality before the Constitutional Court or a preliminary ruling before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).