‘Europe arrest abuse is key reason for Brexit’ Assange rages at Catalan leader’s arrest
JULIAN Assange today compared the EU to Hitler’s Nazis in a series of rambling tweets attacking the arrest of Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont. He bizarrely also claimed the use of the cross-border European Arrest Warrant – the method used to detain Assange – was one of the key reasons Britain voted for Brexit.
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Mr Assange, who has been holed-up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for five years, drew a historical comparison between an event that took place in Nazi Germany and Mr Puigdemont arrest and said “In 1940 the elected president of Catalonia, Lluís Companys, was captured by the Gestapo, at the request of Spain, delivered to them and executed.
“Today, German police have arrested the elected president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, at the request of Spain, to be extradited.”
He also took Britain’s side against the European Union while unleashing his anger on Twitter over the arrest – saying the European Arrest Warrant was one of the “key intellectual reasons” why people voted for Brexit.
WikiLeaks founder Mr Assange accused the European Union of turning to an “abusive instrument that requires no evidence” to “persecute” countries’ “opponents” such as Mr Puigdemont.
Speaking about the European Arrest Warrant as an interference in a country’s sovereignty, he tweeted: “European Arrest Warrant abuse is one of the key intellectual reasons why the UK voted to leave the EU.
“If others control the use of force in your territory, it isn’t your territory.”
The EAW is an arrest warrant that can be issued by any country member of the bloc and be valid across the whole continent.
Once issued, it requires another member of the EU to pursue the arrest and transfer the suspect to the state which issued the EAW, so that the person can be put on a trial or complete the detention period.
Mr Puigdemont was taken into custody in Germany on Sunday while he was on his way to Belgium from Finland, where he was to make a speech.
The former leader has been living in Belgium since October, when the Catalan parliament unilaterally declared independence from Spain.
He was to appear before a German judge today.
The news sparked violent protest across the Spanish region of Catalonia on Sunday evening.
Speculating whether the Spanish intelligence sent agents on German soil or tracked down Mr Puigdemont’s phone or car, he said that the EU allows “abusive” governments to “persecute” their opponent across the whole continent.
He tweeted: “It appears that Spanish intelligence agents were active on German soil or had hacked the GPS location data from Puidgemont’s phone while it was in Germany or had placed a magnetic satellite tracker on Puidgemont’s car as it made its way.
“Other possibilities: they could have used the SS7 location hack, although it has been largely disabled, if not entirely, on German networks, to obtain his cell location, or hacked the German telco, or exploited access to such information shared to Puidgemont’s carrier.
“The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system allows an abusive government to persecute its opponents across the whole of the EU.”
He added: “This arrest of Puidgemont shows why anyone of interest needs a digital bodyguard.”
The WikiLeaks leading figure compared his situation to the one of the former leader of Catalonia, adding: “Catalan independence leader president Puigdemont was arrested in Germany with a Spanish European Arrest Warrant (EAW).
“The EAW is an abusive instrument that requires no evidence.
“It was used to detain me without charge for six years until UN intervention.”
Mr Assange came to international attention in 2010 after WikiLeaks published a series of leaks including secret records of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On the same year, Sweden issued international arrest warrant over rape allegations.