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Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont goes to Brussels as Spain files rebellion charges - DW
Catalonia's leader Carles Puigdemont and five aides went to Brussels on Monday to meet with his lawyers, according to government sources. The revelation came as prosecutors in Madrid charged the 54-year-old and several associates with rebellion, sedition and embezzlement.

Belgian lawyer Paul Beckaert confirmed to Reuters on Monday evening that Puigdemont was in Belgium and that he had taken on the former regional president as a client. Beckaert would not confirm whether he was working with Puigdemont on an asylum claim.

Belgian Asylum State Secretary Theo Francken said over the weekend that it would be "not unrealistic" for Puigdemont to launch an asylum claim in the Belgian capital.

Spain has formally dissolved the Catalan parliament, which declared independence on Friday after an escalating battle of wills with Madrid over the future of the prosperous region.

Other, more sensationalist media, wrote that Puidgemeont "fled the country", to "avoid arrest".
by Bernard on Mon Oct 30th, 2017 at 09:09:36 PM EST
tbh, it's not entirely clear whether his primary motive was to avoid arrest, but it's interesting that Belgium appears to be a country from which he cannot be extradited.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 31st, 2017 at 04:25:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Puidgemont just declared on CNN that he's visiting "Brussels, capital of Europe, not visiting Belgium".

Catalonia's ex-president Puigdemont: I'm not in Belgium to seek asylum  - MSN

Catalonia's ousted president, Carles Puigdemont, has said he came to Belgium to act "in freedom and safety", but not to seek political asylum.

Speaking at press conference in Brussels, Puigdemont said he would return home "immediately" if a fair judicial process was guaranteed in Spain.

And by the way:

Spain and Belgium are both signatories to the European arrest warrant, which requires governments to give up EU citizens to another member state when they are wanted by the authorities.


'Like any EU citizen': Belgium's Catalan asylum fix - Reuters

Nonetheless, he traveled to a small town in western Flanders on Monday to hire a human rights lawyer with a successful track record of fighting extradition to Spain on behalf of Basque separatist sympathizers.

The lawyer, Paul Bekaert warned, however, that EU rules have made it harder. He told Reuters that the European Arrest Warrant system had removed exceptions previously made for extraditions to face "political" charges like sedition in other EU states.

Politics, too, may play a part. Eighteen months before the next Belgian federal election, there have already been tensions over Catalonia within the coalition, where Flemish nationalists sympathetic to the Catalans are a major force and Michel, a French-speaking liberal, has lately tried to mollify Madrid.

by Bernard on Tue Oct 31st, 2017 at 08:12:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't hire Paul Bekaert if your intention is not to avoid a Spanish prison.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 8th, 2017 at 12:32:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, Puigdemont fled Spain to avoid arrest. That is not even controversial. They chose Belgium not because it could grant him asylum but because it is the most likely jurisdiction to avoid extradition, or to obtain extradition on diminished charges.

A secondary goal is to blow up the Belgian government. That will go down well with the rest of the EU.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 8th, 2017 at 12:31:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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