Published: Tue, October 31, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Catalan ex-leader to speak in Brussels as asylum rumors grow

Catalan ex-leader to speak in Brussels as asylum rumors grow

At least one portrait of Mr Puigdemont was still hanging on a wall inside the Catalan government's Generalitat building.

The group drove from Spain to Marseilles before catching a flight to Brussels. This Sunday, the Belgian Secretary of State for Migration and Asylum, Theo Francken, did not rule out that his country could grant political asylum to Carles Puigdemont, removed from office this weekend by the Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy.

Spain's Attorney-General Jose Manuel Maza announced on Monday morning that Puigdemont was being sued because of his unilateral declaration of independence last Friday.

Members of the Catalan Democratic Party committee meet in Barcelona on Monday.

According to Spanish newspapers, however, Puigdemont is in Belgium to apply for political asylum. They then boarded a plane from marseille to Brussels, reveals the Spanish press.

On the first working day since his regional government was sacked, Mr Puigdemont and other Catalan leaders were accused of committing offences which carry sentences of up to 30, 15 and six years in prison respectively.

Belgian PM Michel, who is the only serving European Union leader to have criticized Spain's approach to the Catalan crisis, stressed however that there was no official offer of asylum for Puigdemont.

That intervention by the Flemish nationalist was met with scorn from Spain and even Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, the leader of his own government.

The source said that the now deposed Catalan number two had gone to work in Catalonia's economy department.

The Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra police force has been given direct orders from Madrid to file criminal reports against regional officials who did not accept their dismissals.

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