• Revision ID 15115 REVISION
  • 2017-10-31 14:21:56
  • by Lydia Morrish (talk | contribs)
  • Note: Update with news of Puigdemont press conference
 
   
Title Title
Ousted Catalan leader appears in Brussels as charges of rebellion recommended Ousted Catalan leader appears in Brussels as charges of rebellion recommended
Summary Summary
  Spain's Attorney General is calling for charges against Catalonia's separatist leadership
Highlights Highlights
  Spain's attorney general recommended charges against separatist leadership , Ousted Catalan leader Puigdemont appears in Belgium , Separatist parties to run in regional elections in December
Content Content
<strong>Spain's Attorney General, José Manuel Maza, <a href="https://apnews.com/af2fcce3a4d44971bf29bb24b20f0d84/Spain-seeks-rebellion-charges-against-fired-Catalan-leaders">says he will seek charges of sedition, rebellion, and misuse of public funds against separatist leaders</a> for their role in Catalonia's parliamentary<i> </i>declaration of independence.</strong> <strong>Spain's Attorney General, José Manuel Maza, <a href="https://apnews.com/af2fcce3a4d44971bf29bb24b20f0d84/Spain-seeks-rebellion-charges-against-fired-Catalan-leaders">says he will seek charges of sedition, rebellion, and misuse of public funds against separatist leaders</a> for their role in Catalonia's parliamentary<i> </i>declaration of independence.</strong>
The announcement came just before reports emerged saying that Catalonia's ousted leadership had left the country. The announcement came just before reports emerged saying that Catalonia's ousted leadership had left the country.
<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41802900">Under the Spanish legal system</a>, it is now up to a judge to consider the attorney general's requests. The charge of rebellion carries up to 30 years in prison. Formal charges could polarise Catalan society further, since the issue of independence has been deeply divisive.  <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41802900">Under the Spanish legal system</a>, it is now up to a judge to consider the attorney general's requests. The charge of rebellion carries up to 30 years in prison. Formal charges could polarize Catalan society further, since the issue of independence has been deeply divisive.
<a href="https://politica.elpais.com/politica/2017/10/30/actualidad/1509353313_081794.html">According to <em>El País</em>,</a> the attorney general recommended charges against ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and his cabinet to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audiencia_Nacional_(Spain)">Spain's National Audience, a senior court.</a> Maza also recommended charges against Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, and a handful of separatist lawmakers to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superior_Court_of_Justice_of_Spain">Spain's Superior Courts of Justice.</a> <a href="https://politica.elpais.com/politica/2017/10/30/actualidad/1509353313_081794.html">According to <em>El País</em>,</a> the attorney general recommended charges against ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and his cabinet to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audiencia_Nacional_(Spain)">Spain's National Audience, a senior court.</a> Maza also recommended charges against Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, and a handful of separatist lawmakers to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superior_Court_of_Justice_of_Spain">Spain's Superior Courts of Justice.</a>
The chief prosecutor also said he would seek preventative charges against the secessionist leaders who allowed the vote on independence to go through. The prosecutor did not specify whether these measures included immediate arrest and detention before trial, <a href="https://apnews.com/af2fcce3a4d44971bf29bb24b20f0d84/Spain-seeks-rebellion-charges-against-fired-Catalan-leaders">as reported by AP.</a> The chief prosecutor also said he would seek preventative charges against the secessionist leaders who allowed the vote on independence to go through. The prosecutor did not specify whether these measures included immediate arrest and detention before trial, <a href="https://apnews.com/af2fcce3a4d44971bf29bb24b20f0d84/Spain-seeks-rebellion-charges-against-fired-Catalan-leaders">as reported by AP.</a>
Shortly after the attorney general announced the legal maneuvers, <a href="https://www.elconfidencial.com/espana/cataluna/2017-10-30/independencia-cataluna-puigdemont-bruselas-flamencos_1469302/">Spanish news media</a> reported that Puigdemont had flown to Belgium with five sacked cabinet members. There was no immediate comment from Puigdemont or his colleagues on the reason for their trip.  Shortly after the attorney general announced the legal maneuvers, <a href="https://www.elconfidencial.com/espana/cataluna/2017-10-30/independencia-cataluna-puigdemont-bruselas-flamencos_1469302/">Spanish news media</a> reported that Puigdemont had flown to Belgium with five sacked cabinet members.
<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41811649">A lawyer for Puigdemont told Flemish radio that the ousted separatist leader was in Brussels, Belgium.</a> Paul Bekaert, however, said that Puigdemont had not gone into hiding and did not confirm whether the former regional president would seek asylum. "We're keeping all options open – nothing has been decided," he told Flemish public radio, according to the BBC.  
  In a <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-spain-politics-catalonia/spanish-prosecutor-accuses-sacked-catalan-leader-of-rebellion-idUSKBN1CZ0IP?il=0">press conference on Tuesday in Brussels</a>, Puigdemont said he will continue the struggle for Catalan independence from Belgium, and will only return to Catalonia if given "guarantees" by the Spanish government about a future trial.
  The sacked leader also <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-spain-politics-catalonia-puigdemont/sacked-catalan-leader-puigdemont-says-accepts-snap-election-not-seeking-asylum-idUSKBN1D01N4?il=0" rel="external">confirmed he was not seeking asylum</a> in Belgium at the press conference, after <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41811649">his lawyer said</a> he had not gone into hiding.
Puigdemont's travel to Brussels followed Madrid stripped Catalonia of its autonomy over the weekend – the first such action since the death of fascist dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government temporarily dissolved Catalonia's semi-autonomous status, imposed direct rule over the region's government (<em>Generalitat</em>) and called for early regional elections to take place on December 21, 2017. The moves were a direct response to the Catalan parliament's declaration of independence on Friday, October 27.  Puigdemont's travel to Brussels followed Madrid stripping Catalonia of its autonomy over the weekend – the first such action since the death of fascist dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government temporarily dissolved Catalonia's semi-autonomous status, imposed direct rule over the region's government (<em>Generalitat</em>) and called for early regional elections to take place on December 21, 2017. The moves were a direct response to the Catalan parliament's declaration of independence on Friday, October 27.
On Sunday, October 29, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-roogw8aI8">hundreds of thousands of pro-Spain demonstrators congregated in Barcelona </a>to express their support for the central government's decision. Supporters of continued union waved Spanish and regional flags, called for reconciliation between Spain and Catalonia, and demanded the jailing of separatist political leaders. On Sunday, October 29, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-roogw8aI8">hundreds of thousands of pro-Spain demonstrators congregated in Barcelona </a>to express their support for the central government's decision. Supporters of continued union waved Spanish and regional flags, called for reconciliation between Spain and Catalonia, and demanded the jailing of separatist political leaders.
[caption id="attachment_13765" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-13765" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/10/pro-spain-620x349.jpg" alt="" width="620" height="349" /> Demonstrators take to the streets in Barcelona to express support for Spain. Photo: Xavi Bosch Martí[/caption] [caption id="attachment_13765" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-13765" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/10/pro-spain-620x349.jpg" alt="" width="620" height="349" /> Demonstrators take to the streets in Barcelona to express support for Spain. Photo: Xavi Bosch Martí[/caption]
Fears surrounding the potential for civil disobedience on Monday, October 30, of <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41800205">200,000 civil servants</a> employed by Catalonia's dissolved administration, however, proved unfounded. <a href="http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-spain-politics-catalonia/spains-direct-rule-takes-hold-in-catalonia-as-secessionists-accept-elections-idUKKBN1CZ0IN">Public employees returned to work </a><a href="http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-spain-politics-catalonia/spains-direct-rule-takes-hold-in-catalonia-as-secessionists-accept-elections-idUKKBN1CZ0IN">and secessionist parties accepted Madrid's calls for regional elections.</a> Fears surrounding the potential for civil disobedience on Monday, October 30, of <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41800205">200,000 civil servants</a> employed by Catalonia's dissolved administration, however, proved unfounded. <a href="http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-spain-politics-catalonia/spains-direct-rule-takes-hold-in-catalonia-as-secessionists-accept-elections-idUKKBN1CZ0IN">Public employees returned to work </a><a href="http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-spain-politics-catalonia/spains-direct-rule-takes-hold-in-catalonia-as-secessionists-accept-elections-idUKKBN1CZ0IN">and secessionist parties accepted Madrid's calls for regional elections.</a>
Meanwhile, some legal scholars questioned the validity of the Catalonian parliament's process. <a href="http://www.publico.es/politica/realmente-aprobo-parlament-viernes-independencia-catalunya.html">According to a column in Spanish digital newspaper Publico.es</a>, the Catalan parliament's vote is "a resolution without legal force despite having political value." It also quotes Spanish legal scholars who say the legal manoeuvring is part of Puigdemont strategy to downplay the legal force of the separatists' political declarations in preparation for potential legal battles in Spain's courts. <em>WikiTribune</em> was unable to independently corroborate the information. Meanwhile, some legal scholars questioned the validity of the Catalonian parliament's process. <a href="http://www.publico.es/politica/realmente-aprobo-parlament-viernes-independencia-catalunya.html">According to a column in Spanish digital newspaper Publico.es</a>, the Catalan parliament's vote is "a resolution without legal force despite having political value." It also quotes Spanish legal scholars who say the legal manoeuvring is part of Puigdemont strategy to downplay the legal force of the separatists' political declarations in preparation for potential legal battles in Spain's courts. <em>WikiTribune</em> was unable to independently corroborate the information.
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