EFA Press Release: Arrest of Carles Puigdemont

Carles Puigdemont, Catalan MEP and former President of Catalonia, was arrested last night (23 September) in Sardinia, following a scheduled visit to the island. Puigdemont was arrested on arrival and a judge in Sardinia will decide whether he should be released or surrendered to Spain. 

While the immunity from prosecution for Catalan leaders was waived in March, an initial EU General Court ruling stated that Puigdemont faced no immediate risk of arrest. As Puigdemont has appealed the initial waiver of immunity, the EU has given no final agreement on this case – or whether the Spanish arrest warrant is valid. Puigdemont’s legal team have repeated that no court within the EU can execute a European arrest warrant until a final ruling has been made. 

EFA President Lorena Lopez de Lacalle said: “Amnesty and the return of the exiles have to be part of the discussions in the recently resumed talks between the Catalan and Spanish governments. We expect from the Spanish government to finally accept that without putting an end to repression the conditions for a fair negotiated solution will not be there.”

EFA calls for the EU to use their position as a democratic union to fairly protect the rights of their citizens. The right to self-determination cannot be denied, and those who use that right cannot be punished with arrest or other persecutions. 

The situation in Catalonia will only be resolved through open dialogue. The European Union now has a choice: bow to the pressures of member states that seek to undermine democratic justice, or prove to European citizens that the protection of their fundamental rights is at the heart of the European project.