The ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont’s decision to defy a Spanish court summons and remain in Brussels will trigger an extradition dispute that could run for months, if not years.
The state prosecutor’s request for Puigdemont to be detained under the European arrest warrant (EAW) will initiate a procedure designed to speed up the handover of criminal suspects between EU states.
But any decision by a lower tribunal in Belgium can be appealed up through the higher courts, lengthening the legal process while straining relations between EU member states.
Andrew Smith, an extradition specialist at the London law firm Corker Binning said: “If a Spanish European arrest warrant is issued for Mr Puigdemont and his former ministers, the key questions for the Belgian extradition court are likely to be whether the criminal allegations are politically motivated and whether the Spanish authorities are acting abusively.
“Mutual trust is a central tenet of how the European arrest warrant operates between EU member states, but this extraordinary case looks set to test the limits of that trust.”
Read the full article in The Guardian here.