Call for arrest of ex-Catalan leader Puigdemont on Denmark visit

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Spanish government refuses decision by sacked Catalonia leader to rule remotely

24 January, 2018

But, he hopes to be sworn in via video link or by using an MPs to read his candidate speech if he is re-invested as the new leader of Catalonia at the end of January.

It is the first time Mr Puigdemont has left Brussels since fleeing to there shortly after he was sacked by the central government in October after his regional administration declared independence from Spain. Together with Greenland, the Faeroes have long sought further autonomy while allowing Denmark to handle their foreign affairs and defense.

Spanish authorities are still investigating Catalan officials for possible rebellion and sedition charges.

His proposed appearance at the debate in the Danish capital comes while Puigdemont is trying to be reinstated as the regional president of Catalonia.

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

The prosecution service said it would "immediately" have a supreme court judge issue an arrest warrant for the secessionist leader, sacked by Madrid after the Catalan parliament declared independence on October 27, and urge Denmark to hand him over.

He said it was important to wait until "constitutional order" had returned to the region.

The parliament was dissolved previous year by the government in Madrid after the body approved the region's unilateral independence. However, a senior Spanish judge rejected the warrant, saying it would play into Puigdemont's hands.

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As Spain's legal system wrestled over arresting Puigdemont, the ousted leader's name was put forward as a candidate for president.

Puigdemont left Brussels for Copenhagen to attend the conference on Monday. A Spanish judge is yet to rule on the European warrant.

Earlier, the Catalan parliament's speaker, Roger Torrent, said Mr Puigdemont's candidacy to head the regional government was "absolutely legitimate" despite the charges against him.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy reiterated on Saturday that governing Catalonia from overseas would be "illegal". Prosecutors were calling for Puigdemont to be arrested in Denmark, where he traveled on Monday.

A Faeroese lawmaker invited Puigdemont to the Danish Parliament on Tuesday.

A warrant for his arrest remains open in Spain.

His comments are coming a month after his arrest warrant and that of five other members of the Catalonia government was withdrawn by a court in Spain.

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