Fugitive Puigdemont in Denmark, Spanish seek arrest warrant

Spanish government refuses decision by sacked Catalonia leader to rule remotely

The spokesman and member of Junts per Catalunya Elsa Artadi has confirmed this Friday that former president of Generalitat Carles Puigdemont is planning to travel to Denmark on Monday 22 January to participate in a debate on political situation of Catalonia in University of Copenhagen.

Sources from Spain's state prosecutor's office said Pablo Llarena, the Supreme Court judge leading the sedition investigation against Puigdemont, was officially requested to reinstate an European arrest warrant in a bid to bring the sacked former region President of Catalonia back to Spain in order to face charges.

At the time, the Supreme Court had issued an worldwide arrest warrant against him, but withdrew it in December to avoid Belgium granting him asylum.

In early December, Llarena had dropped a European arrest warrant for Puigdemont and four of his deputies who fled to Belgium, saying that it would complicate the overall probe into the region's leaders but warned they would be arrested if they return. Madrid made the request following Puigdemont's first trip outside of Belgium.

Mr Puigdemont told students the actions of Madrid were acts of "revenge". The fugitive former leader of Catalonia has arrived in Denmark, despite threats from Spain to seek his immediate arrest there.

"Mr. Puigdemont is subject to a process in Spain", Alfonso Dastis, Spain's foreign minister, said.

It remains unclear how Puigdemont could be sworn in again as regional president without returning to Spain and therefore putting himself open to likely arrest.

The ongoing crisis unfolded after the Catalan parliament declared unilateral independence in October.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has even threatened to maintain special constitutional powers to keep direct control of the region. Whether or not Puigdemont can lead Catalonia in absentia has been debated hotly.

The controversy came as Mr Puigdemont was nominated by the speaker of the Catalan parliament, Roger Torrent, to head the regional government on Monday. He is also scheduled to meet Danish lawmakers on Tuesday. He will be arrested the moment he sets foot on Spanish soil.

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