Spain in extradition bid as exiled Catalan leader travels to Denmark

Spain in extradition bid as exiled Catalan leader travels to Denmark

Update 10am: The fugitive former leader of Catalonia has arrived in Denmark and prosecutors in Spain immediately started proceedings to have him arrested and extradited.

Carles Puigdemont landed at Copenhagen airport on Monday morning on a flight from Belgium, where he has been since fleeing Spain.

CarlesPuigdemonthas arrived in Denmark.
Carles Puigdemont has arrived in Denmark.

He was immediately surrounded by media but made no comment before he got into a car that drove him away to an undisclosed location.

He is expected to take part in a debate at the University of Copenhagen on Monday.

The following day he has been invited to the Danish Parliament by a Faeroese lawmaker, although leading members of the government and opposition have declined to meet him.

In Spain, the state prosecutor's office said it has asked the Supreme Court to approve a European arrest warrant for Mr Puigdemont's arrest. It is unclear if Judge Pablo Llarena will grant it.

In December, Mr Llarena withdrew a similar order amid concerns that Belgium would send Mr Puigdemont back to Spain but restrict the crimes with which he could be charged.

Copenhagen police spokesman Riad Tolba told The Associated Press that no arrest warrant has arrived yet, so Mr Puigdemont has not been arrested.

Mr Puigdemont is being investigated by Spain over a unilateral declaration of independence by Catalonia's parliament on Oct. 27.

Earlier: Spain to seek arrest of Carles Puigdemont if he enters Denmark

A European arrest warrant will be reissued for the fugitive former leader of Catalonia if he leaves Belgium and enters Denmark as planned, Spain’s state prosecutor’s office said.

The region’s ex-president Carles Puigdemont is scheduled to attend a debate at the University of Copenhagen on Monday.

The trip would be Mr Puigdemont’s first outside Belgium since he fled there to avoid a court summons in Spain for his role in a failed secession bid led by his government in October.

The state prosecutor said that if Mr Puigdemont enters Denmark as planned it will "immediately request" the Spain Supreme Court to issue a European warrant for his arrest by Danish authorities.

Spain issued a European warrant for Mr Puigdemont’s arrest in November, but withdrew it after a month.

- PA

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