Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and his deposed ministers Toni Comín, Lluís Puig and Clara Ponsatí warn in an article published in La Vanguardia that Spain has lost judicially in Europe and that the decision of the Belgian judiciary to refuse Puig’s extradition by not considering Spain’s Supreme Court competent to judge the case has been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The members of the Catalan government who went into exile in the autumn of 2017 explain that if they did so it was to be able to defend their rights with “the guarantee of impartiality, independence and justice that we knew we would not have found in Spain”. According to them, all the evidence accumulated so far has confirmed that in Europe they have had the opportunity to defend their rights and in Spain this would have been impossible.

Spain’s third attempt to extradite Catalan independence leader Lluís Puig met a dead end ten days ago as it was struck down by a Belgian court. According to the Belgian court, Spain’s Supreme Court does not have the authority to order Puig’s extradition. Belgium’s public prosecutor announced that it was appealing the court’s decision. Lluís Puig, who moved to Brussels in November 2017 following Spain’s push back against the independence movement, believes the Belgian court’s decision proves “the Supreme Court did not have the authority to try the referendum organizers.”

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, also in Belgium, was quick to react to the news concerning the man who was his cabinet’s culture minister: “We’ve denounced this from the beginning and the UN’s working group on human rights said it too. Now the Belgian justice system confirms the same thing: the Supreme Court does not have the authority to go after us and judge us. Fundamental rights are not respected in the Kingdom of Spain”.

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