Spanish prosecutors go after Catalonia’s axed leaders
SPANISH prosecutors yesterday 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 said the 54year-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.
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.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman of Puigdemont’s PDeCAT party said yesterday it would run in a December regional election called by Spain’s government in response to the declaration of independence.
“We will go to the polls on [December] 21. We will go with conviction and with a commitment to letting the Catalan people express themselves,” Marta Pascal said.
The Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) party of Puigdemont’s equally deposed vice-president Oriol Junqueras said it would participate in some fashion in the election despite judging the poll illegitimate, having been called by Madrid.
“Our republic does not for the moment fully have the capacity to impose itself as we would wish -- but it is up to us to defend it,” a visibly emotional Sabria said.
On Friday, Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he had dissolved the Catalan parliament and called a snap vote for the region under sweeping powers approved by the senate to stop the secessionist movement.