A high court judge has called on Spain’s foreign affairs minister and its justice minister to defend the Supreme Court judge, Pablo Llarena, who has been summoned to appear before a court in Belgium on September 4 as part of a lawsuit brought by exiled Catalan leaders.

In letters sent to Josep Borrell (Foreign Affairs) and Dolores Delgado (Justice), the president of the Supreme Court, Carlos Lesmes, says it is “absolutely necessary” the ministers ensure the Belgian state appears in court “in defense of the state immunity of Spain and the Supreme Court judge summoned.” Minister Borrell has already asked the Spanish ambassador in Belgium to start action in that direction.

Rights infringement

Llarena, who is overseeing the case against Catalan leaders being prosecuted for their part in last year’s independence bid, is the focus of a civil suit brought by Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín, Meritxell Serret, Lluís Puig and Clara Ponsatí, who accuse the judge of infringing their rights as MPs.

Lesmes, who spoke to both ministers by phone before sending his letters, asks they take “the pertinent actions to ensure the State’s integrity of action” as well as providing “the protection owing to public servants” given that “the decisions that the Belgian courts could take are unknown.”

Former Catalan president Puigdemont sought refuge in Belgium, along with his former ministers Comín, Serret, Puig and Ponsatí, following the dismissal of the then Catalan government after a declaration of independence in the parliament in October. The former Catalan officials brought their lawsuit against Llarena at the beginning of June.