Spain’s Attorney General Jose Manuel Maza announced that top Catalan officials, including ousted President Carles Puigdemont, will be prosecuted for sedition following parliament’s declaration of independence Friday, as Puigdemont traveled to Belgium where he is expected to make a statement later today.
While Manuel Maza requested that they all appear in a Madrid court in a few days, Spanish judges continue to deliberate on whether Catalan leaders should face charges of rebellion, sedition, provocation, and misuse of public funds following the Oct. 1 independence referendum, a measure declared illegal by Madrid.
“In my judgment, there is no crime of rebellion because no violence has been produced,” said Diego Lopez Garrido who drafted alterations to the Spanish legal code pertaining to rebellion, according to Antena 3.
Meanwhile, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, a lawyer representing Puigdemont, said the threat of charging his client with rebellion is “real nonsense.”
Last Friday, after a tense full parliament session and several weeks of suspense, the Catalan regional government voted to secede from Spain, with 70 votes in favor, 10 against and two abstentions.
In response to Catalonia’s self-declared independence, the Spanish Senate swiftly responded by invoking Article 155 of the country’s constitution with 214 in favor, 47 against and one abstention. The move, unprecedented in Spain’s history, allowed Madrid to seize control of the region and its institutions.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who had previously declared Catalan’s constitutional referendum unconstitutional, has promised to “restore legality in Catalonia.”
On Saturday, the central government began its takeover of official functions across Catalonia and ordered fresh elections for parliament on Dec. 21.
Control of the region has been handed to Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, according to an official state bulletin. Meanwhile, Catalonia’s police are now under the command of Spain’s Interior Ministry.
Located in the northeast of Spain, Catalonia is recognized as one of the country’s most prosperous regions — not only economically, but culturally. Some 7.5 million residents have also been able to maintain their national language: Catalan. Apart from these aspects, which have historically fed into the independence movement, residents of Barcelona say they pay exorbitant taxes to Madrid and don’t receive their worth back in services.
Top photo | Catalan President Carles Puigdemont walks after his arrival inside the Catalan parliament in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/ Emilio Morenatti)