The sacked Catalan President Carles Puigdemont will not attend his court summons in Madrid on Thursday. Instead he asks to be questioned from Belgium, his lawyer declared on Wednesday on Spanish television. “He will not go to Madrid, and I adviced him to be questioned here in Belgium, it’s possible, I have already had such cases in the past, declared his lawyer Paul Bekaert on Spanish TV3.
“We will examine whether the penalties are not disproportionate and if the fundamental rights have been respected”, added the human rights lawyer. In the past he has defended members from the Basque separatist group ETA, whom the government in Madrid wanted extradited.
Also in another interview, with the Dutch TV channel NOS, Mr Bekaert defended his client’s refusal to go back to Spain, given the risks he faced there and that he would be arrested. According to the lawyer, “it is not necessary” for Spain to ask the Belgian authorities for Mr Puigdemont’s extradition. “I have already handled several Spanish Basques and they were simply questioned here in Belgium.
Removed from office by the Spanish authorities on 27 October, a few hours after his unilateral independence proclamation of the “Republic of Catalan”, Carles Puigdemont travelled to Belgium on Monday when the Spanish authorities decided to take control of the Catalan institutions.