Update: As we warned earlier, La Sexta has just reported that (former) Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont will seek asylum in Belgium.
According to eldiario.es, Puigdemont has made the decision to travel to Brussels advised by a legal team that recommends him to remain in that country.
The movement of the former Catalan president intends to internationalize the judicial decisions and to force the Belgian justice to position itself on the possible emission of a euroorder of detention by Spain. In addition, the expresident and the exconsellers that accompany him raise the possibility of requesting political asylum in that country.
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As we detailed earlier, Spain’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Jose Manuel Maza, made a short statement this morning as he filed a suit against former Catalonian leader, Carles Puigdemont and his colleagues, accusing them of “rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds”. In total, charges have been made against 20 people, 14 of them former members of the Catalan and six of them members of the Speaker’s Committee in the Catalan Parliament (which facilitated the declaration of independence).
Below is the front page of the document which details the charges, courtesy of the twitter account of The Spain Report.
And here is the first page of the accusation that has gone to the Supreme Court against members of Speaker's Committee. Same three crimes. pic.twitter.com/rzeR4sALpu— The Spain Report (@thespainreport) October 30, 2017
- Accusations to be rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds. All very serious crimes under Spanish Criminal Code 1995.
- Charges to be against all members of former Catalan government and members of Catalan Parliament Speaker's Committee.
- So Puigdemont, Junqueras, Romeva, Turull, etc. (regional got) and Forcadell (Speaker, parliament).
- Accusations against Puigdemont, Junqueras, etc. going to National High Court. Having been sacked, they no longer enjoy special privilege.
- Accusations against Forcadell and Speaker's Committee going to Supreme Court. They still enjoy special privilege until new elections.
- No word on remand petition yet. Prosecutor will wait until first court appearances to decide.
If found guilty, the charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds carry prison terms of up to 30, 15 and 6 years, respectively, under Spanish law.
Prior to the Public Prosecutor’s move, events in Catalonia had got off to a subdued start on the first day of the new working week. Only one Catalonian government official, Josep Rull, turned up for work, posting a photo of himself online via his Twitter account.
Rull, who is responsible for territory and sustainability, tweeted that he was in his office... “exercising responsibilities entrusted by Catalan people”.
According to La Vanguardia, two members of the Catalan police force visited Rull and informed him that he could be arrested. Spain’s Interior Minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, urged Rull not to lead Catalonian officials “to the cliff edge.”
He subsequently departed. The newspaper also reported that accused Catalan Parliament Speaker, Carme Forcadell, cancelled a meeting of the group which organizes the Catalan Parliament’s daily agenda. The meeting had been scheduled for 10a.m. tomorrow.
Meanwhile, AP reports that one of the Catalan separatist parties is already drawing up plans for the upcoming regional elections.
A spokesman for a Catalan separatist party ousted from the regional government for pushing ahead with an independence bid has confirmed plans for the party to run in an upcoming regional election. Lawmakers of the Catalan Republic Left, or ERC, party, and their ruling coalition partners, passed a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain on Friday with the support of other separatist legislators. Making use of extraordinary powers, the Spanish government has fired the Catalan government, dissolved the regional parliament and called an election for Dec. 21. ERC party spokesman Sergi Sabria told reporters after a meeting of the party leadership that “we will find the way to participate on Dec. 21. Dec. 21 can be one more opportunity to consolidate the republic.”
As the news of the prosecutions was breaking, The Spain Report noted on its Twitter account that El Periodico de Catalunya, a Barcelona daily newspaper, reports that Carles Puigdemont is in Brussels.
MAJOR BREAKING: La Vanguardia reports Pugidemont in Brussels with "members of the dismissed Catalan government".https://t.co/J6FAy8eo0K— The Spain Report (@thespainreport) October 30, 2017
Yesterday, The Brussels Times reported that Puigdemont could seek asylum in Belgium.
Carles Puigdemont, the former Catalonian President, could seek asylum in Belgium, the State Secretary for Asylum and Immigration Theo Francken has told VTM Nieuws. “No request has been submitted yet, but things change quickly. We’ll see what happens in the next few hours or days”, the State Secretary told VRT. The Spanish government has threatened to charge Mr Puigdemont because the regional Parliament voted for a unilateral independence resolution on Friday. A few days ago, Carles Puigdemont implied that it was possible he would seek asylum in a European country via an embassy. Belgium would be his preference.