Span­ish pros­e­cu­tors go af­ter Cat­alo­nia’s axed lead­ers Cat­alo­nia’s Puigde­mont in Brus­sels

Iran Daily - - Front Page -

Span­ish pros­e­cu­tors on Mon­day de­manded that Cat­alo­nia’s dis­missed lead­ers be charged with re­bel­lion af­ter the re­gional par­lia­ment de­clared in­de­pen­dence last week and the cen­tral gov­ern­ment in Madrid moved to take con­trol of the re­gion.

Up­ping the ante in the EU coun­try’s big­gest cri­sis in decades, Spain’s chief pros­e­cu­tor said he was seek­ing charges in­clud­ing re­bel­lion and sedi­tion against the Cata­lan lead­ers, sacked by Madrid on Fri­day.

Jose Manuel Maza said the of­fi­cials “caused an in­sti­tu­tional cri­sis that led to the uni­lat­eral dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence (by the Cata­lan par­lia­ment) car­ried out on Oc­to­ber 27 with to­tal con­tempt for our Con­sti­tu­tion”.

Mean­while, there was so far no sign of Cat­alo­nia’s dis­missed re­gional pres­i­dent Car­les Puigde­mont. A Span­ish gov­ern­ment source told AFP that the 54-year-old was in Brus­sels.

Re­bel­lion is pun­ish­able by up to 30 years in prison. A court now has to de­cide whether to ac­cept the case against the lead­ers and bring charges.

On Sun­day Bel­gium’s im­mi­gra­tion min­is­ter sug­gested Puigde­mont could re­ceive asy­lum in Bel­gium on the grounds that he might not get a fair trial in Spain. Bel­gian Prime Min­is­ter Charles Michel later in­sisted that was “not on the agenda.”

Puigde­mont on Satur­day urged “demo­cratic op­po­si­tion” to Madrid’s ef­fort to take con­trol of his re­gion.

Clear your desks

Puigde­mont main­tains that the re­sult of an in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum on Oc­to­ber 1 – out­lawed by Spain’s top court – gave the wealthy north­east­ern re­gion a man­date to de­clare it was se­ced­ing from Spain.

All eyes on Mon­day were on the re­gional gov­ern­ment build­ing in Barcelona – where the Span­ish flag was fly­ing – to see whether Puigde­mont or mem­bers of his for­mer ad­min­is­tra­tion would ap­pear.

Cata­lan po­lice, now un­der or­ders from Madrid, have been told they can al­low the dis­missed lead­ers to en­ter the gov­ern­ment head­quar­ters in Barcelona, but only to clear their desks.

One mem­ber of the dis­missed gov­ern­ment, Josep Rull, tweeted a photo of him­self “at the of­fice” do­ing his job as a re­gional min­is­ter. Press re­ports said he left again shortly af­ter­wards. Late on Fri­day the Span­ish Se­nate gave Madrid the power to im­pose di­rect rule on Cat­alo­nia un­der Ar­ti­cle 155 of the Con­sti­tu­tion, the first time this so-called “nu­clear op­tion” has been ap­plied.

That fol­lowed the uni­lat­eral dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence by Cat­alo­nia’s par­lia­ment the same day. Madrid took con­trol of key pow­ers and fresh Cata­lan elec­tions were called for De­cem­ber 21.

A spokesman for Puigde­mont’s party PDECAT said Mon­day that it would take part in the elec­tion. There had been spec­u­la­tion that it might boy­cott the vote.

AP

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