Spain prosecutor files charges against Catalan leaders

Prosecutor says sacked Catalonia president and his cabinet should face charges of rebellion and sedition against state.

Spain''s Attorney-General Maza prepares to deliver a statement at State Prosecutor office in Madrid
Spain's Attorney General Jose Manuel Maza said the charges will include sedition and rebellion [Susana Vera/Reuters]

Barcelona, Spain – Spanish Attorney General Jose Manuel Maza has confirmed he will file criminal complaints against the dismissed Catalan government.

Maza said the charges will include sedition and rebellion, both felony offences with penalties of between one and 30 years in prison.

The attorney general said the charges will be filed against dismissed Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, Vice-President Oriol Junqueras and others who “have produced an institutional crisis that ended the unilateral declaration of independence with total disregard of our Constitution last October 27”.

The complaint consists of 118 pages and asks that the accused be summoned as a precautionary measure, “taking into account the seriousness of the facts and of the crimes imputed.”

Later on Monday, Catalan daily La Vanguardia reported that Puigdemont had travelled to Belgium. The report came a day after Theo Francken, Belgium’s migration minister, told local media that it would be “not unrealistic” for his country to offer Puigdemont political asylum if he asked for it.

Political crisis

The Catalan parliament voted to declare independence on Friday after an extended period of proposed negotiations between Madrid and Barcelona.

What happens next in Catalonia?

Puigdemont initially declared an independent republic on October 10, then suspending the effects to encourage dialogue with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

No direct talks are known to have taken place.

The Spanish government subsequently chose to enact Article 155 of the Constitution, which allows for control of the regional government.

The regional government, including ministers and high-ranking officials, were dismissed on Saturday after Article 155 came into effect.

Rajoy has called for elections on December 21.

Sergi Sabria, a parliamentarian from the Catalan Republican Left party (ERC), to which dismissed Vice-President Junqueras also belongs, said he does not view the elections as legitimate, but still plans to participate.

“The December 21 elections have to be another opportunity to consolidate the republic. We do not have to waste any opportunities,” Sabria told a press conference after a meeting of the ERC.

Puigdemont has yet to be seen publicly in Barcelona, though Junqueras was present at the ERC meeting on Monday morning.

What is the real cost of Catalonia’s drive for independence?

Source: Al Jazeera