Puigdemont's red line: if he returns before the amnesty he will be arrested

After the announcement of his candidacy to preside over the Generalitat and run as head of the Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) list in the Catalan elections on May 12, the return of Carles Puigdemont to Spain more than six years after his escape to Brussels is getting closer and closer. But depending on the date chosen, the procedural scenario that the independence leader will have to face will be noticeably different. Puigdemont has set a deadline for that return home: the investiture debate of the new Catalan president in the Parliament, which is expected to not be held before mid-June.

Before that date, the former president of the Generalitat will have to decide whether to carry out a virtual campaign from Brussels or risk returning before March 12 without the amnesty law having come into force. In that case, according to the sources consulted by LA RAZÓN, Puigdemont will be arrested “without any doubt” as soon as there is evidence of his presence in Spain, given that the judge of the Supreme Court (TS) Pablo Llarena, instructor of the “procés” case, maintains a national arrest warrant against him. Not so the European order to demand his delivery to Belgium, which has not been reactivated after the General Court of the European Union endorsed the European Parliament's decision to withdraw his immunity. Llarena gave Puigdemont's defense ten days to prove, in his case, that he had requested the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) the precautionary suspension of the loss of immunity, but the succession of appeals, the absence of a deadline to take that step and the processing of the amnesty law have ended up burying the reactivation of that OEDE (European arrest and surrender order ), even more so with a European Chamber in the final stretch of the legislature (from June 6 to 9 there are European elections).

But this national arrest warrant in force (it will be until the amnesty law comes into force) also includes – it should not be forgotten – a prison order against Carles Puigdemont. Would the independence leader end up in jail after appearing before Judge Llarena in the Supreme Court? With the entry into force of the amnesty law just around the corner, the sources consulted rule out that possibility. After the investigation was carried out (the formal communication of his prosecution for crimes of aggravated embezzlement and disobedience), the sovereigntist politician would be released, foreseeably with precautionary measures.

Could it be possible that Puigdemont would return by surprise and appear on his own initiative before Judge Llarena? Those around the former president deny the biggest. «He will never appear voluntarily in the Supreme Court. Absolutely. “They will have to take him”they insist.

But, once the amnesty comes into force – if the deadlines are met, the controversial law could become a reality in the second half of May – the scenario changes. Protected by the impunity sanctioned by the regulations, Puigdemont's way back will now be clear.

Once amnesty is granted, the more than certain presentation, by the Supreme Court, of a preliminary ruling before the Court of Justice of the European Union after the entry into force of the amnesty law would leave the processing of the case on hold, which, legal sources point out, it would prevent ordering his arrest and even summoning him to testify. Everything will be postponed until the European Justice determines whether the pardon violates European law regarding the crimes of embezzlement and terrorism (Puigdemont is being investigated in the Supreme Court for the “Tsunami case”). But, they warn, if so determined “from that moment on the arrest could be ordered again.”

((H3:«It will act correctly»))

In a scenario not exempt from procedural aspects, and given that the law gives judges and courts a maximum period of two months to apply it, it remains to be seen what would happen if the Supreme Court delayed raising this preliminary question and Puigdemont returned at that time. context (formally amnestied but with the “procés” case still alive waiting to be suspended after the appeal to the Community Justice).

This raises another of the most controversial issues, since the amnesty law requires that all precautionary measures and possible arrest warrants or euro-orders in force be immediately rescinded. Sources close to Puigdemont have no doubt (or at least they do not express it publicly) that the Supreme Court “will act correctly.” “They don't like the amnesty, but they are not going to break the law”they venture.

Not in vain, according to the different sources consulted, what is foreseeable is that once the amnesty law is already published in the BOE, and regardless of the processing of the consultation with Europe, the precautionary measures against Puigdemont issued within the framework of the because of the “procés” are lifted. Some measures that would only be reactivated if the CJEU finally overturns the grace measure.