Sunday 23 September 2018

Catalan parliament defies Spain again with vote on leader

Carles Puigdemont fled Spain to avoid arrest five months ago after the Catalan parliament’s declaration of independence.

A protester faces off the police during a protest in support of Catalonian politicians jailed on charges of sedition and condemning the arrest of Catalonia’s former president Carles Puigdemont in Germany, during a protest in Barcelona, Spain (Santi Palacios/AP)
A protester faces off the police during a protest in support of Catalonian politicians jailed on charges of sedition and condemning the arrest of Catalonia’s former president Carles Puigdemont in Germany, during a protest in Barcelona, Spain (Santi Palacios/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

Catalonia’s parliament has passed a symbolic motion affirming the right of the Spanish region’s former separatist leader Carles Puigdemont to be re-elected to his old job, even though he is in jail and facing a possible trial.

Pro-independence parties used their slim majority to approve the motion on Wednesday and continue their defiance of the Spanish government, which says the wealthy north-eastern region cannot secede.

Mr Puigdemont fled Spain to avoid arrest five months ago after the Catalan parliament’s declaration of independence.

ipanews_53c76e69-7fd7-43b7-a7c3-794ed7d5ebef_embedded235737338
A poster is fixed at the gate to the entrance building of a prison in Neumuenster, northern Germany, where Carles Puigdemont is held (Frank Molter/dpa via AP)

Spanish authorities ousted him and imposed direct rule on the restive region.

The Spanish Supreme Court has charged the 55-year-old separatist leader with rebellion.

He was detained in Germany on Sunday on a European arrest warrant.

German authorities are due to decide on his extradition.

Meanwhile, another former Catalan minister facing extradition to Spain on charges of rebellion turned herself in to authorities in Scotland.

Clara Ponsati, Catalonia’s former education chief and currently a professor at the University of St Andrews, returned to Scotland in March after fleeing Spain with Mr Puigdemont.

Her lawyer Aamer Anwar said she will provide a “robust” legal challenge to the charges, which he said amount to political persecution.

“Clara remains defiant and resolute and believes that the Spanish government will never be able to crush the spirit of the Catalan people,” he said.

The academic was to attend an initial extradition hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court later on Wednesday.

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News