Bekaert states “Puigdemont will address the Catalans today or tomorrow”
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    Bekaert states “Puigdemont will address the Catalans today or tomorrow”

    © Belga
    Paul Bekaert says that Mr Puigdemont has promised to cooperate with the Belgian courts.
    © Belga

    The ousted President of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, was due to address the Catalans on Thursday evening or Friday, during a speech on Catalan television. This was indicated by his lawyer, Paul Bekaert, on the Terzake TV broadcast. Such a speech is still awaited. Mr Puigdemont is subject to a European arrest warrant.

    Bekaert confirmed that the Spanish courts have issued a European arrest warrant against Carles Puigdemont and four other ousted Catalan ministers, who are still in Belgium. The ministers, who have stayed in Spain, are in custody.

    Paul Bekaert spoke with his client on Thursday evening. The lawyer explained, also speaking on Thursday, “He was the same in himself, no more or less in a fighting spirit and certain of his ground.” He went on, “He will speak to the Catalan people this evening or tomorrow on Catalan television.” The lawyer could not give any more details on this speech.

    The human rights lawyer stresses that his client will provisionally remain in Belgium. “He will indeed stay here. He has promised his full cooperation with the Belgian courts.”

    The arrest warrant against Carles Puigdemont and the other four ministers will be sent, after translation, to the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office. Then an investigating judge is to decide whether all five should be remanded in custody. The judge could also reject the arrest warrant or let the Catalans go free, subject to certain conditions. The criminal court in chambers will next focus on the validity of the application.

    Although the warrant complies with Belgian law, whether the matter should be referred to the Spanish courts will be ruled upon, although there is still the possibility of appeal on the issue to the Spanish Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times