Home Business Economy & Politics Catalonia Crisis: Spain’s High Court Summons Carles Puigdemont

Catalonia Crisis: Spain’s High Court Summons Carles Puigdemont

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puidgemont and 13 other members of his dismissed government have been summoned to appear in Spain’s high court later this week.

The court also gave them three days to pay a deposit of €6.2 million to cover potential liabilities.

The summons comes after Spain’s chief prosecutor said he would press charges including rebellion.

Carles Puigdemont is in Belgium with several former ministers. He earlier said he was not there to seek asylum.

Catalonia’s dismissed president triggered a crisis in Spain by holding an independence referendum on October 1 in the semi-autonomous region despite Madrid’s opposition and the Constitutional Court declaring the vote illegal.

Image source Wikimedia

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Carles Puigdemont turned up in Brussels on October 30 as Spanish Attorney-General José Manuel Maza called for Catalan leaders to face charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

The Audiencia National has now summoned the dismissed Catalan officials – who are yet to be formally charged – to testify on November 2 and 3. If they do not appear, prosecutors could order their arrest.

Meanwhile, the speaker of Catalan’s dissolved parliament Carme Forcadell and other former lawmakers have been summoned to the Supreme Court because they still have parliamentary immunity.

Carles Puigdemont earlier said he would return to Spain if guaranteed a fair hearing.

Several of Carles Puigdemont’s former colleagues who remain inside the country may decide to accept the summons and appear in court.

Prosecutors’ arguments against the group were “serious, rational and logical”, Judge Carmen Lamela said in a ruling, according to the AFP.

The charge of rebellion carries a maximum 30-year jail term.

Speaking at a press conference earlier on October 31, Carles Puigdemont said he was not trying to escape justice by travelling to Belgium but wanted to be able to speak freely.

Carles Puigdemont’s comments came as Spain’s constitutional court suspended the declaration of independence made by the Catalan parliament on October 27.

The former leader also said he would accept the result of snap elections in Catalonia on December 21, which were called by Spain’s central government after it invoked Article 155 of the constitution, temporarily suspending the region’s autonomy.

He told reporters: “I want a clear commitment from the state. Will the state respect the results that could give separatist forces a majority?”

Spain’s central government has previously said Carles Puigdemont is welcome to take part in the fresh polls.

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