Carles Puigdemont, the former president of the autonomous government of Catalonia who fled to Belgium, says he'd like to leave politics but expects a new European arrest warrant against him in the coming weeks.
His words come as the trials of the 12 pro-independence leaders of the 2017 Catalonian secessionist attempt begin in the Spanish Supreme Court.
"Even though there is no arrest warrant against me right now, the Spanish judiciary refuses to accept me as a witness of what happened in Catalonia. Is that because my opinion is not important enough to let them know the truth, perhaps? I am willing to answer all the questions of the prosecution and the defence," he said in The Netherlands on Wednesday.
Puigdemont fled to Belgium to avoid appearing before the Spanish courts for his participation in the Catalan independence process and was later arrested in Germany, following a European arrest warrant.
He was later released because the German justice system refused to hand him over for the charge of rebellion issued by Spain.
After the German refusal, the Spanish withdrew the European and international arrest warrant for Puigdemont, but since the national arrest warrant is still in force, the former Catalan president cannot return to Spain.
In a talk at the University of Groningen, Puigdemont said that "there are still shadows of Franco's regime in the Spanish justice system", so he thought it would be "difficult" for the courts to have a fair trial.
Australian Associated Press