Removed Catalonian President Ignores Subpoena from Spanish Justice

Bulgaria The Attorney of Basque Terrorist Group ETA might Defend Puigdemont in Belgium

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Lawyers for Carles Puigdemont say the former Catalan president will not return to Spain to testify in a national court on Thursday but has instead has agreed to testify from Brussels.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy sacked Puigdemont and his government on Friday, hours after the Catalan parliament made a unilateral declaration of independence in a vote boycotted by the opposition and declared illegal by Spanish courts.

Puigdemont travelled to Belgium at the weekend with other members of the dismissed Catalan administration and hired a lawyer. His lawyer, Paul Bekaert told the Associated Press that under Spanish law defendants can take questions from outside of Spain.

He denied speculation that he would seek political asylum in the Belgian capital but said he and his team would stay there to "continue our work despite the limits imposed on us".

If Puigdemont or any of the other politicians fail to appear a European arrest warrant can be issued. From Brussels, he accused the Spanish government of seeking "revenge" rather than "justice" regarding the now two-month-old heightened push for Catalan independence. The judge would then determine whether those who have been summoned should go to jail pending an investigation, which may take up to several years before it is resolved.

Prosecutors have already asked the courts to order the Catalan secessionist leaders to deposit at least 6.2 million euros to cover all potential liabilities brought by the case.

Mr Puigdemont's announcement that he would accept the regional election on December 21 confirmed that the Madrid government had gained the upper hand in the protracted struggle over Catalonia, for now at least.

Mr Puigdemont said he and his colleagues welcomed the challenge of an election "with all our strength". Puigdemont's failure to appear in court starting tomorrow could jeopardize his chance to run, however.

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