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Spain Withdraws European Warrants for Catalan Leaders Exiled in Belgium

The Spanish Supreme Court earlier this morning, rescinded the European arrests warrants that were issued for Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont and five other Catalan leaders, who have been self-exiled in Belgium, following Spain's move in October, to retake the northeast region's autonomy after its declaration of independence.

The ruling by Justice Pablo Llareno of the Madrid court, represents a sensible first logical democratic decision Spain has made per the Catalonia crisis ever since the region held a democratic referendum on sovereignty, back in in October. 

The ruling withdraws the Madrid issued European warrants for Puigdemont and five other Catalan leaders in Belgium citing the willingness the leasers have shown to return to Catalonia ahead of new regional elections slated for December 21. Judge Llareno determined the European-wide warrants would complicate the Spanish legal probe and that its removal allows Spain to gain full control over the investigation, the BBC-News reported.

Yet, Puigdemont and the other Catalan leaders still face the likelihood of prosecution on sedition and rebellion charges in Madrid, Spain, where the group fear gaining a fair trial. Puigdemont has said he would return if Spain guaranteed a fair trial. 

On the other hand, on Monday in Madrid, a court released another six-Catalan leaders on bail who had been jailed after surrendering to authorities following the Catalonia independence declaration. Another two leaders remain in custody even though the court found that they were not a flight risk, but a risk of criminal reiteration.

Spain's withdrawal of the European warrants for the Catalan leaders is logical and democratic, however, the Spaniards should go further to release all the regional leaders and even reach further to dropping all the charges against Catalonia's leaders. In lieu of charges, Spain should establish a commission to look into the deep concerns of the Catalan region.

Sedition and rebellion are serious charges. Rebellion carries a maximum sentence of 30-years-in-jail in Spain. 

While it is easy for government to blame unease on individuals rather than itself, any state seeking to prosecute any individual for a democratic exercise void of violence within a democratic system, is a state in need of repair. Sedition and rebellion are impossible via a democratic process. Catalonia's referendum was a democratic process. 

If Spain continues to press for punishments for exercising a democratic process, then that nation appears to be encouraging future non-democratic means by any people seeking sovereignty.