On Tuesday the Court of Justice of the European Union, i.e. the main European court, issued an important new sentence which could affect the possibility of being extradited from Belgium to Spain Carles Puigdemont, the former president of the Catalan Generalidad who organized the illegal referendum for the independence of Catalonia in 2017. A few days after the referendum Puigdemont fled to Belgium, where he is still and where he was elected MEP, and so far the extradition requests made by the Spanish Supreme Court had been rejected by the Belgian justice.
According to the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union, a request for a European arrest warrant by Spain can be rejected by a European judicial body only if “there is a real risk of violation” of the fundamental right to a fair trial and if there are “systemic or generalized deficiencies in the functioning of the judicial system” in the country requesting the arrest.
The sentence does not directly concern Puigdemont but another Catalan politician who fled to Belgium, Lluis Puig Gordi, former regional minister of culture. As for Puigdemont, Spain had also issued an international arrest warrant for Puig Gordi, which was rejected by Belgium. Unlike Puigdemont, Puig Gordi is not an MEP and is therefore not protected by immunity. It is therefore likely that the Spanish Supreme Court will now issue a new arrest warrant, which in the light of the ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union has a good chance of being accepted.