Spanish court drops sedition charges against Puigdemont

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The Spanish Supreme Court dropped sedition charges against former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, it announced in a statement Thursday.

The decision comes three weeks after a controversial reform removed the crime of sedition from the Spanish penal code.

Under the new law, “the facts of the case related to [sedition] are now subsumable in a crime of disobedience,” Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena wrote in the statement. As a result, all arrest warrants issued based on sedition charges against Puigdemont and four other Catalan independence leaders for their role in an aborted independence bid in 2017 have been canceled.

However, Puigdemont and two other Catalan separatist leaders still face charges of disobedience and embezzlement.

The cancellation “will be communicate[d] to the executing courts of Belgium and Italy,” where some of the Catalan nationalists are living in exile, Llarena said.

A current European lawmaker and former president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont fled Spain for Belgium to avoid extradition after the failed secession bid.

Aitor Hernández-Morales contributed reporting.