BELGIAN Vice-Premier and Interior Minister Jan Jambon voiced disquiet over the Spanish conservative government’s actions towards Catalan national leaders yesterday.
He insisted that the international community must keep a close eye on Spain to make sure that ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont receives fair legal treatment in Madrid.
Mr Puigdemont and four close allies turned themselves in to Belgian authorities yesterday morning and await probable extradition to fellow EU member state Spain.
Mr Jambon commented: “I am just questioning how an EU member state can go this far and I am asking myself where Europe is to have an opinion on this.”
The Belgian government has been one of the most critical voices on Spain’s treatment of the Catalan crisis. It condemned violence meted out by the central authorities’ paramilitary police during the Catalan independence referendum on October 1.
“You have Spanish law but also international law, the European Human Rights Treaty and such things and they come ahead of member state law. So I think the international community must keep a close watch,” Mr Jambon added.
Parties favouring independence held a majority of 72 of 135 seats in the Catalan Parliament before its dissolution, but a new poll predicts that the three pro-secession groupings would win between 66 and 69 seats in December, with 68 needed for a majority.
Catalans in favour of seceding from Spain are gathering to put up posters calling for independence and the release of jailed separatist leaders in towns across north-eastern Spain. The leading pro-secession grassroots group, Catalan National Assembly (ANC), organised the poster rally. It offered downloadable posters for people to print out and put up on walls and windows. The same group has also called for a strike on Wednesday and a public protest next Saturday. ANC vice-president Agusti Alcoberro said his group was considering organising a rally in Brussels on December 6. The group’s president Jordi Sanchez was detained without bail along with another leader of a separatist group for leading a protest in September that ended up damaging police vehicles and impeding officers from leaving a building they were searching. email@example.com