The minister-president of Flanders says Catalan leaders 'never engaged in any violent act'
Geert Bourgeois is "very concerned about the fate" of prisoners and exiles after meeting President Quim Torra in Barcelona
The minister-president of Flanders, Geert Bourgeois, said on Tuesday that Catalan politicians and activists currently in jail or exile "never engaged in any violent act or called for violence."
In a press conference after meeting President Quim Torra in Barcelona, Bourgeois rejected charges of "rebellion" being faced by Catalan leaders who are currently in jail or abroad.
"It's not normal that people are jailed when they practice politics," Bourgeois said. "No one engaged in any violent act or called for violence," he added, saying he is "very concerned" about the prisoners "fate".
According to the Flemish minister-president, this "is not a case of rebellion" but one of "political acts and freedom of expression." "It's not violence, and the case is in conflict with the Charter of Fundamental rights," he insisted.
The minister-president of Flanders celebrated that "dialogue started" between Spanish president Pedro Sánchez and Catalan leader Quim Torra. Bourgeois said that he had always advocated for talks between Madrid and Barcelona.
For his part, Torra thanked the Flemish minister-president for his "support" and for condemning police violence during the October 1 referendum.
The Catalan president especially praised Belgium for the "solidarity" showed with Catalan leaders currently on exile there. A Brussels court rejected a Spanish extradition request against three former ministers there.
Last week, president Torra also met with the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon. Another Catalan former minister is also fighting against extradition in a court in Edinburgh.