Catalonia’s sacked President, Carles Puigdemont, along with members of his former cabinet has fled to Belgium following potential charges of rebellion from Spain’s chief prosecutor.
A total of six member of the now dissolved Catalan leadership, including Puigdemont, may face charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement.
The charges carry sentences of up to thirty years.
This follows Catalonia’s declaration of independence last Friday, after 90% voted in favour in a referendum on 1st October. Spain’s police forcibly tried to prevent Catalans making it to polling stations, and hundreds of people were left injured.Voter turnout was low. The referendum and its result was deemed unlawful by Spain’s constitutional court.
Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has been granted new powers to take direct control of the region after a vote in Spain’s senate. Rajoy immediately ousted Puigdemont and ordered for a new election to be held on the 21st December which he says will “restore legality” to Catalonia.
Puigdemont said he was not trying to escape justice by leaving, but wanted to be able to express himself freely. Speaking at a press conferences in Brussells today, he said: “The situation is developing every day. We have better guarantees for our rights here and we can meet our obligations from here”.
He went on to say that Spain wants Catalonia “to abandon our political project, and they won’t achieve it”.