Finnish police receive arrest warrant for Puigdemont, but they don’t know where he is

Finnish police receive arrest warrant for Puigdemont, but they don’t know where he is
Copyright  Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander/via REUTERS
By Cristina Abellan Matamoros  with Reuters

Fugitive Catalan leader Puigdemont arrived in Finland on Thursday for a series of meetings, an arrest warrant was issued for him a day later.

Fugitive Catalan President Carles Puigdemont faces arrest in Finland after the country’s authorities received an arrest warrant from Spain, constituting the latest legal action against the separatist leader.

If Puigdemont is found by police, a normal extradition process would begin, except Finnish police said in a statement they don’t know of his current whereabouts.

Pro-independence Catalonia's deposed leader Carles Puigdemont (R) lectures at the University of Helsinki, Finland March 23, 2018.Reuters

In an interview with a Spanish radio station, Puigdemont’s lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas said his client —who's been in the Nordic country since Thursday — was prepared to present himself to Finnish police.

Puigdemont has been in self-imposed exile in Belgium since last year after the Catalan parliament made a symbolic declaration of independence from Spain.

On Friday, Spanish supreme court judge Pablo Llarena ruled that a total of 25 separatist politicians, including Puigdemont, would face trial for rebellion, embezzlement or disobeying the state.

Five of those 25 were sent to pre-trial jail. Among them was Jordi Turull who was put forward for a second vote on Saturday to replace Puigdemont as the next Catalan president.

As a result, separatist leaders abandoned plans to name a new president.

Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent called Madrid’s legal actions “an attack on the heart of democracy” and suggested Catalan politicians should form a coalition in opposition to Madrid’s actions.

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