DEPOSED and exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont is expected to leave Germany and return to Belgium after a Spanish judge withdrew European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) against him, St Andrews University professor Clara Ponsati and four exiled politicians.

And his lawyer predicted that it would not be long before he returned to Catalonia, where he faces arrest under a Spanish national warrant alleging rebellion and sedition, that was kept in place by Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena.

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The other exiles, who were charged with rebellion as well, could also be arrested should they try to return home.

Gonzalo Boye told Catalan radio station RAC1: “We believe that Carles Puigdemont will be able to return to Catalonia in a reasonable space of time.

“It will not be necessary to wait 20 years because we are working on this path … it will be sooner than many anticipate.”

He said Puigdemont had told him in a phone call that he intended to return to the house where he lived in Waterloo, near the Belgian capital Brussels.

“Carles Puigdemont is a free man and not just in North Korea. We believe things will change soon.”

Boye said the withdrawal of the EAWs disproved Spain’s claim to be a democracy.

Puigdemont and the other exiles were free in the rest of the EU but, he added: “They can go all over the world but our recommendation is that politicians do not leave the European space.

“I would not recommend … France. We have talked a lot about it and we believe that there is a fairly wide freedom of movement but in France there are peculiarities in terms of cooperation with Spain and we believe that there is no need to risk it. Llarena will return to issue a euro-order [EAW] when he has the condemnatory sentence of the Supreme [Court] to try again in all countries.”

A German court yesterday formally ended extradition proceedings against Puigdemont, which left him free to leave the country.

The state court in Schleswig revoked a German warrant putting him in pre-extradition detention that was issued after his arrest in March.

He has been free on bail for most of the time since then, but had to report regularly to German police and was not allowed to leave the country without prosecutors’ permission.

The decision of the German court not to extradite Puigdemont over the rebellion charges was a serious setback for Llarena, who has relentlessly pursued those involved in the Catalan independence referendum last October.

Should he want to continue his pursuit of the exiles for rebellion, sedition and embezzlement, his indictment will have to be accepted by Spain’s new attorney-general María José Segarra, who is widely regarded as a progressive.

In the meantime, Ponsati will appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday amid hopes her extradition warrant will be discharged.

Her lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said: “We will require to attend Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday July 23 in the hope that at this stage the warrant is discharged.

“Clara would like me to thank the people of Scotland, the UK, her fellow Catalans and Europeans as well as the SNP, the Scottish Government, the Green Party, members of the Labour Party, the STUC, and the staff and students of St. Andrews University for their support. Their solidarity will never be forgotten.”