Spain court suspends Catalan independence declaration | 2017-11-01 |

Spain court suspends Catalan independence declaration

Puigdemont to stay in Brussels ‘for safety’

    1 November, 2017 12:00 AM printer

Spain court suspends Catalan independence declaration

MADIRD/BRUSSELS: Spain’s Constitu-tional Court on Tuesday ordered the suspension of last week’s declaration of independence by the Catalan parliament, a court source said.


“The court plenary has just provisionally suspended the independence declaration” while it examines an appeal by the Spanish government, the source said, indicating the latest in a series of measures by Madrid to stifle the region’s independence drive, reports AFP.


Spain’s Supreme Court has called on the speaker for Catalonia’s parliament Carme Forcadell as well as five other senior lawmakers from the region to testify on Nov. 2 and 3, a court spokeswoman said on Tuesday.


The country’s State prosecutor on Monday called for rebellion and sedition charges to be brought against Catalan leaders over their push to separate from Spain.


Meanwhile, Catalonia’s deposed separatist leader Carles Puigdemont said Tuesday that he would stay put in Brussels after being dismissed by the Spanish government, but denied he would seek asylum to avoid possible rebellion charges.


“I am not here in order to demand asylum,” Puigdemont, sacked by the Spanish government on Friday after Catalonia’s parliament declared independence, told a packed news conference in Brussels.


He said he was in Belgium “for safety purposes and freedom”, without detailing how long he would stay.


After being axed, the 54-year-old reportedly drove hundreds of kilometres from Catalonia to Marseille in southern France with several members of his dismissed cabinet and then flew to Belgium.


His departure is the latest twist in the saga over semi-autonomous Catalonia’s drive for independence that has presented Spain with its biggest political crisis in decades.


On October 1, Catalonia held a referendum organised by Puigdemont’s administration which it said saw a large majority vote in favour of seceding from Spain, although turnout was just 43 percent.


Puigdemont said this gave the Catalan parliament a mandate to declare independence on Friday, a decision beamed onto big screens to cheering crowds in regional capital Barcelona.