New Puigdemont arrest order postponed, as seen from ‘abroad’

On a day that saw Carles Puigdemont chosen as the only candidate for the presidency by the pro-independence majority in the Catalan parliament and Spain’s Supreme court reject a request for an international arrest warrant to be reactivated as Puigdemont travelled from Belgium to Denmark to attend a conference, the Madrid-based international press once again chose to go with Spanish government spin.
In its report Carles Puigdemont: court rejects new bid to arrest Catalan ex-president The Guardian simply stated:

The decision to reactivate the arrest warrant was postponed until the Catalan parliament is restored to normal activity, the court said in a statement on Monday.

The BBC at least added a little detail, but avoided any analysis;

The judge wrote that [his arrest] would “equip him with a justification that his absence is not a free decision as a fugitive, but the consequence of a situation that has been imposed on him”. (Catalonia crisis: Puigdemont’s Denmark visit a ‘provocation’)

Though the FT also managed to report the gist of the judge’s words, their dubious legal basis was again ignored:

… reactivating the warrant would be postponed until the Catalan parliament returned to normal activity. Pablo Llarena, the supreme court judge, even suggested Mr Puigdemont’s was trying to get arrested by travelling to Denmark, as it would give him someone to blame for not appearing at the Catalan parliament. (Puigdemont put forward as Catalan parliament leader)

The reasons given by judge Llarena were far more interesting than suggested. He actually said that an arrest warrant would not yet be issued as his arrest was precisely what he sought, part of a strategy to get round the rules applicable to his investiture. His exact reasoning is translated here: Spanish judge won’t reactivate Puigdemont European arrest warrant.

It is obvious that the postponement is a political decision and not a legal one and, rather than reflect a clear separation of powers, as suggested by Minister of Justice, Rafael Catalá, the decision actually represents quite the opposite. Many suggest that the judge might even be guilty of prevarication. Spanish law is complicated after all. Why should journalists be expected to understand?

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