BRUSSELS – A Belgian judge ruled on Wednesday against extraditing former Catalan regional ministers who had fled to Brussels from Spain, where they face charges of rebellion and sedition for their alleged role in their region’s failed bid for independence.
Toni Comin, Meritxell Serret and Lluis Puig’s lawyers, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas and Gonzalo Boye, said the European Arrest Warrant issued by Spain had been rejected due to its irregularity, as no equivalent national warrant had been sent out.
“The prosecution and defense agreed the warrant had to be rejected and should not even be studied,” said Alonso-Cuevillas.
Comin, Serret and Puig had been members of the Catalonia regional government when it was dissolved by the Spanish central state in response to a separatist referendum and the subsequent declaration of independence in October 2017.
They fled to Belgium alongside former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who was recently detained and later released in Germany, a country that decided not to extradite him for rebellion but has ruled he may be sent to Spain to face charges of misuse of public funds.
Several other pro-independence figureheads are fighting extradition requests across Europe or remain in pre-trial detention in Spain, where they are facing decades-long prison sentences.