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Catalonia: president Carles Puigdemont still in Belgium

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Re: Spain issued arrest warrant for Catalon leader Puigdemon

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:46 pm

Catalonia crisis: Sacked ministers held in Spanish jails

Eight sacked Catalan ministers have been remanded in custody by a Spanish high court judge over the region's push for independence.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to detain eight of the nine former regional government members who turned up for questioning in Madrid.

They are accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

Prosecutors are also seeking a European Arrest Warrant for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.

The request also covers four other dismissed Catalan ministers who did not show up in court in Madrid as requested, but have been in Belgium since Monday.

Spain has been gripped by a constitutional crisis since a referendum on independence from Spain was held in Catalonia on 1 October in defiance of a constitutional court ruling that had declared it illegal.

Last week, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy imposed direct rule on Catalonia, dissolving the regional parliament and calling local elections for 21 December.

This came after Catalan lawmakers voted to declare the independence of the affluent north-eastern region. The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part in the referendum, 90% were in favour of independence.

Those detained are:

    Former Deputy Vice President Oriol Junqueras

    Former Interior Minister Joaquim Forn

    Former Foreign Affairs Minister Raül Romeva

    Former Justice Minister Carles Mundó

    Former Labour Minister Dolors Bassa

    Former Government Presidency Councillor Jordi Turull

    Former Sustainable Development Minister Josep Rull

    Former Culture Minister Meritxell Borras

A ninth official, ex-Business Minister Santi Vila, was granted bail at the request of prosecutors. He resigned before the Catalan parliament voted for independence last Friday.

Catalan political parties and civic groups condemned the judicial move, while thousands of people gathered outside the Catalan regional parliament in Barcelona, demanding that they be freed.

In a statement broadcast on Catalan TV from an undisclosed location in Belgium, Mr Puigdemont described the detention of the eight ex-ministers as "an act that breaks with the basic principles of democracy".

He added: "I demand the release of the ministers and the vice-president."

Five other senior members of the Catalan parliament, as well as Speaker Carme Forcadell, are facing the same charges but, because of their parliamentary immunity, their cases are being handled by the Supreme Court. Their hearings have been postponed until 9 November.

Mr Puigdemont, who was spotted in a Brussels cafe on Thursday, has said he will not return to Spain unless he and four of his fellow sacked colleagues receive guarantees of a fair trial. He did not specify his exact demands.

Belgium's federal prosecutor has said the law will be applied once an arrest warrant is received, according to Efe news agency.

Mr Puigdemont's lawyer said the climate was "not good" for him to appear in court, but he also said his client would co-operate with the authorities in Spain and Belgium.

The man who wants to break up Spain

In addition to Mr Puigdemont, prosecutors have asked Spain's high court judge to issue European arrest warrants for the following Catalan officials:

    Meritxell Serret, former agriculture minister

    Antoni Comín, former health minister

    Lluís Puig, former culture minister

    Clara Ponsatí, former education minister

EU arrest warrant: What happens next?

If Spain's high court judge issues a warrant, a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) will be sent to Belgian prosecutors, who have 24 hours to decide whether the paperwork is correct. If they do, they then have 15 days to arrest Mr Puigdemont and the four others. If one or all of them appeals against it, that process could last another 15 days.

Belgium has a maximum of 60 days to return the suspects to Spain after arrest. But if the suspects do not raise legal objections, a transfer could happen within a few days.

A country can reject an EU arrest warrant if it fears that extradition would violate the suspect's human rights. Discrimination based on politics, religion or race is grounds for refusal. So are fears that the suspect would not get a fair trial.

There is an agreed EU list of 32 offences - in Article Two of the EAW law - for which there is no requirement for the offence to be a crime in both countries. In other words, any of those offences can be a justification for extradition, provided the penalty is at least three years in jail.

However, neither "sedition" nor "rebellion" - two of the Spanish accusations against the Catalan leaders - are on that list.

..................................................

Mr Puigdemont's handling of the crisis has drawn criticism among some other Catalan politicians, with left-wing parliamentary deputy Joan Josep Nuet criticising him for creating "yet more bewilderment".

Spain's central bank warned on Thursday of the "significant risks and economic costs" resulting from the crisis, and that Catalonia's economy could fall into recession.

Early numbers suggest that the vital tourism sector of the region has already been affected by the ongoing uncertainty.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41850094
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Re: Spain issued arrest warrant for Catalon leader Puigdemon

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Re: Spain issued arrest warrant for Catalon leader Puigdemon

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:42 am

750,000 protesters descend on Barcelona
demanding release of jailed separatist leaders


Hundreds of thousands of Catalan independence supporters clogged central Barcelona on Saturday to demand the release of separatist leaders held in prison for their roles in the region's banned independence drive.

Wearing yellow ribbons on their lapels to signify support, they filled the length of the Avenue Marina that runs from the beach to Barcelona's iconic Sagrada Familia church, while the jailed leaders' families made speeches.

Catalonia's two main grassroots independence groups called the march, under the slogan "Freedom for the political prisoners", after their leaders were remanded in custody on charges of sedition last month.

Barcelona's police said that 750,000 people attended the rally. The protest is seen as a test of how the independence movement's support has fared since the Catalan government declared independence on 27 October, prompting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to fire its members, dissolve the regional parliament and call new elections for December.

"Look at all the people here," said 63-year-old Pep Morales, who was confident separatist parties would win in the 21 December election. "The independence movement is still going strong."

Many of the families, young people and pensioners there had travelled from across Catalonia to attend the march. They carried photos with the faces of those in prison and waved the red-and-yellow striped Catalan independence flag.

The Spanish High Court has jailed eight former government members, along with the leaders of the grassroots groups the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural, while investigations into their roles continue.

The court last week issued arrest warrants on charges of rebellion and sedition for ex-regional president Carles Puigdemont, who flew to Brussels after being deposed, and four other former government members who went with him.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court released on bail the Catalan parliament's speaker Carme Forcadell and four other lawmakers, who enabled the declaration of independence by overseeing a parliamentary vote. Another lawmaker was released without bail.

Ms Forcadell was released after agreeing to renounce any political activity that went against the Spanish constitution, according to the court's ruling, in effect banning her from campaigning for independence in the December election.

Those terms threaten to undermine the independence movement just as cracks are starting to appear and tensions rise between the grassroots and their leaders.

The PDeCAT party of Mr Puigdemont has failed to agree on a united ticket to contest the election with another secessionist party, denting the pro-independence camp's hopes of pressing ahead with its bid to split from Spain after the election.

On Saturday, the separatist Esquerra Republicana party said the ousted Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras, one of those in jail, would be its candidate in December and would campaign from behind bars.

Pepita Sole, a 61-year-old pensioner in the crowd on Saturday draped in a flag, said she understood the independence declaration was symbolic but now wanted the real thing.

"They better understand that we're not faking," she said.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 50116.html
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Re: Catalonia: 750,000 protesters demand release of leaders

PostAuthor: Benny » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:54 pm

A Spanish arrest warrant for the Catalan leaders has now been withdrawn:


http://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/05/europ ... index.html

/B

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Re: Catalonia: 750,000 protesters demand release of leaders

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:51 pm

Benny wrote:A Spanish arrest warrant for the Catalan leaders has now been withdrawn:

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/05/europ ... index.html

/B

Thank you for the update Benny - I had almost forgotten Carles Puigdemont and his friends :ymapplause:

The Spanish supreme court has withdrawn a European arrest warrant for the ousted president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont.

Puigdemont fled to Belgium after the failure of his attempt to secure independence for the autonomous Spanish region following a referendum on October 1. The referendum had been ruled illegal.

Judge Pablo Llarena, who is in charge of the case, also withdrew warrants for the arrest of four other Catalan politicians who fled Spain with Puigdemont: Antoni Comin, Lluis Puig, Meritxell Serret and Clara Ponsati.

The decision does not mean that Puigdemont, who faces charges of rebellion, would not be arrested if he returned to Spain, where he is still wanted by judicial authorities.

Campaigning began Tuesday in Catalonia for fresh regional elections on December 21.

On Monday, a Belgian court said it would rule on December 14 whether to extradite Puigdemont whilst a court in Spain decided to keep the former Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras and three other senior Catalan politicians in jail on charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds.

According to the statement released by the Spanish court, Llarena argued that the European warrant would complicate the overall probe into Catalan leaders.

He said under European law the Belgian court could reject some of the reasons behind the warrant, which could possibly limit the charges brought against Puigdemont and the four others and create inequalities with Catalan leaders on trial in Spain.
It was not immediately clear if Puigdemont would remain in Belgium or return to Spain to face charges there.


Sadly, a great many so-called leaders stir things up in their own country and then run away leaving others to face the consequences X(
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Re: Catalonia: president Carles Puigdemont still in Belgium

PostAuthor: Benny » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:33 am

"Sadly, a great many so-called leaders stir things up in their own country and then run away leaving others to face the consequences."

So true! Well put!

/B

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