Former Catalan leader to address press conference in Brussels

BRUSSELS: Carles Puigdemont is expected to give a press conference

CATALUÑA’S deposed president is expected to make a public appearance and address a press conference after fleeing to Belgium.

On Monday, Carles Puigdemont, and other Catalan leaders learnt they could face charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds which carry sentences of up to 30, 15 and six years in prison respectively.

Puigdemont and five former members of his cabinet reportedly drove from Barcelona to Marseille, where they caught a flight to Brussels.


The move sparked rumours that Mr Puigdemont would seek political asylum in Brussels.

Belgian lawyer Paul Bekaert confirmed was in Brussels and would make a public appearance in the city today (Tuesday).

The lawyer is specialist in human rights and extradition. He has previously represented alleged ETA member Natividad Jáuregui, who Belgium refused to extradite to Spain despite three arrest warrants in 2004, 2005 and 2015. 

Mr Bekaert said, “Puigdemont is not in Belgium to request asylum”, only to prepare a legal riposte to any eventual moves by Madrid.

“I’m his lawyer in case he needs me,” Mr Bekaert said.

“At the moment there are no specific dossiers I am preparing for him.”

Mr Bekaert said his client was in high spirits, driven by “strong support among his backers in Cataluña”.

Cataluña’s parliament has been dissolved until regional elections are held on 21 December.

Puigdemont’s PDeCAT party confirmed it would take part in December’s elections “with a commitment to letting the Catalan people express themselves”.


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