November 4, 2017
This guy has already fled the country and is trying to seek asylum.
Some revolutionary he turned out to be. Jeez.
A Spanish judge issued a EU arrest warrant Friday for Catalonia’s deposed separatist leader Carles Puigdemont, a day after he failed to appear for questioning over his role in the region’s tumultuous independence drive.
The announcement added to anger and dismay in a second straight night of demonstrations in the wealthy north-eastern region, with protesters chanting and waving Catalan flags of red and yellow stripes with a white star.
Spanish prosecutors want to charge Puigdemont, holed up in Belgium, with rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds. On Thursday the 54-year-old ignored a summons to appear before the same judge in Madrid.
A EU arrest warrant was also issued for four other Catalan ministers who failed to show up and are also thought to be in Belgium, a court statement said. They, like Puigdemont, were dismissed by Spain’s central government a week ago.
On Thursday the judge had Puigdemont’s deputy and seven other deposed regional ministers jailed pending a possible trial because of a risk that they might similarly abscond.
Speaking in an interview on Belgian television channel RTBF on Friday, recorded before the widely expected warrant was issued, Puigdemont said he was not hiding from “real justice” but from a “clearly politicised” Spanish legal system.
“I have told my lawyers to inform the Belgian justice authorities that I am completely at their disposal,” he said.
Belgian prosecutors said they would study the warrant and then give it to a judge.
Puigdemont’s Belgian lawyer Paul Bekaert, who has helped Basque separatists militants challenge Spanish extradition, said his client did not see the climate as “conducive to testifying”.
Late Thursday, as television footage showed police vans with flashing blue lights driving Puigdemont’s former ministers to different prisons, furious Catalans took to the streets.
About 20,000 people, according to police, demonstrated in the regional capital Barcelona, while others gathered across in towns, and thousands turned out again on Friday evening.
In Barcelona, people thronged outside the Catalan parliament chanting “Freedom for political prisoners”, “Occupying forces leave” and also “This Europe is a disgrace”.
Puigdemont has said that the situation “is no longer an internal Spanish affair”, calling on the international community to wake up to the “danger”.
But apart from Scotland’s separatist First Minister Nicola Sturgeon criticising the “jailing of political opponents”, there are no signs that other countries’ steadfast backing of Madrid is faltering.
Germany reiterated its support for the “unity and constitutional order of Spain” while a European Commission spokeswoman said it respects “fully” the independence of the Spanish judiciary.
It looks as though Madrid is going to win.
This is pretty much already over.
They waited too long to declare independence, they lost momentum, now no one outside of Spain cares. And their whole plan was hinged on international public sentiment.
I don’t know why no one listens to my advice. I give it out here for free to the entire world, and it is generally always correct.