The Spanish court today started proceedings to jail ex-members of the Catalan government, on charges of sedition and rebellion.
The ex-Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont had previously rejected the Spanish government’s order to appear in court, however the vice president of the Generalitat, Oriol Junqueras attended with other members of the separatist autonomous government. The Spanish court requested that the members of the Catalan secessionist government be jailed without bail for their actions.
Due to his refusal to attend the Spanish court in Madrid, the court president implied that this would result in a warrant for Puigdemont’s arrest to be issued.
“When someone doesn’t appear after being cited by a judge to testify, in Spain or any other EU country, normally an arrest warrant is issued”
President of the Spanish Court, Carlos Lesmes.
Carles Puigdemont, the ex-president of the Generalitat (the Catalan Autonomous government) was ousted from his post by the Spanish government the day after declaring unilateral independence in the north-eastern province of Spain.
An exception to the request to imprison the Catalan separatists was that Catalan politician Santi Vila was offered bail of €50,000 to avoid prison. Santi Vila resigned a day before the unilateral declaration of independence, which was deemed illegal by the Spanish government.
Shortly after declaring unilateral independence, the ousted Catalan leader drove with five Catalan ministers to Marseille and then took a flight to Belgium, where he has remained. On Monday the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy and his PP party issued a court order for Puigdemont to return to Spain and face legal proceedings. Charges include rebellion, sedition and misuse of funds. Puigdemont’s lawyer consequently said that he would reject the request to return to Spain. However, he had also indicated that he could testify from Belgium.
The PP party had seemed to have implied that the ex-Catalan leader may run again in the elections organised for 21st December, however, by rejecting the High Court summons, a warrant may be issued for his arrest instead.
The Spanish government have taken a hard line over the Catalan people’s plight for independence. Stating a proposed referendum illegal and against the constitution, Mariano Rajoy rejected calls for dialogue with the acting President of the Generalitat. During the October 1st referendum, banned by the Spanish government, independence pacific protesters defending ballot boxes were sometimes violently removed by the Spanish police force. The head of the Catalan police force was also removed from office on charges of sedition.
Since then Mariano Rajoy’s government issued the constitutional Article 155 which enables the governing party to take control of an autonomous region such as Catalonia.