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Ex-Catalan leader Puigdemont arrives in Denmark despite Spanish arrest threat

© Tariq Mikkel Khan / Scanpix / AFP| Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont (L) arrives on January 22, 2018 at Copenhagen Airport in Denmark.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2018-01-22

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont arrived in Copenhagen on Monday, defying a threat by Madrid to issue a warrant for his arrest if he leaves Belgium, where he has been in exile since a failed independence bid.

Danish broadcaster TV2 released an image on its website of Puigdemont being surrounded by reporters after his plane landed in Copenhagen Airport.

A source in his entourage also confirmed his arrival in the Danish capital.

Puigdemont is to take part in a debate on Catalonia at the University of Copenhagen later Monday.

His trip came as Spain's prosecution service asked the country’s Supreme Court to reactivate an international arrest warrant to detain the former Catalan leader in Denmark.

Puigdemont fled to Belgium in late October after Madrid sacked his cabinet over their breakaway attempt, but is eyeing a return to power after pro-independence parties won an absolute majority in regional elections in December.

Spanish Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena had dropped a European arrest warrant for Puigdemont and four of his deputies who fled to Belgium in early December, saying it would complicate the overall probe into the region's leaders.

Debate over governing Catalonia from abroad

At home, however, he risks arrest on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

On Monday, the speaker of the Catalan parliament is due to announce his candidate to become the president of the region.

Puigdemont is the favourite, but wants to govern the region from exile in order to avoid arrest if he returns to Spain.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy reiterated Saturday that governing Catalonia from abroad would be "illegal".

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

Date created : 2018-01-22

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