Spain renews arrest bid as ex-Catalan leader arrives in Denmark

Carles Puigdemont has arrived in Denmark, triggering a new attempt by Spain’s prosecutor to have him arrested

Catalonia’s former leader Carles Puigdemont has arrived in Denmark, triggering a new attempt by Spain’s prosecutor to have him arrested.

Spanish prosecutors have asked the country’s supreme court to reactivate the international arrest warrant for Puigdemont, after he flew to Denmark from Belgium.

Spain's Supreme Court dropped an arrest warrant in December but the prosecutor has now applied for it to be reissued.

He had been living in Brussels for the past three months following the regional parliament’s unilateral declaration of independence.

Puigdemont has travelled to host a debate on Catalonia at the University of Copenhagen.

He fled to Brussels at the end of October, and is facing possible charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds over his role in the push to split from Spain. He faces arrest the moment he sets foot on Spanish soil.

A Spanish Supreme Court judge had withdrawn the European-wide warrant in December, saying it would complicate the Spanish legal investigation and its removal would allow Spain to gain full control over the case.

Spanish prosecutors had warned they would seek to renew the warrant because of a discrepancy between Belgian and Spanish law that would limit the charges under which Puigdemont could be extradited and therefore be charged with on his return.

He hopes to be appointed the new Catalan president by the regional parliament but would have to govern from exile.

However, the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has said Puigdemont must attend the investiture debates in person.

“It’s absurd that someone may intend to be a candidate to be the head of the regional government while being in Brussels and running away from justice,” Rajoy said last week.

“This is no longer just a judicial and political problem. This a problem of pure common sense.”

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