Puigdemont claims terrorism allegations aim to persuade Belgium to extradite him
Former president’s sister flatly denies media outlet reports of meeting with imprisoned pro-independence activists
The former Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, has suggested that Spain’s judiciary is trying to embroil him in terrorism allegations in order to persuade Belgium to extradite him after the failure of two European arrest warrants issued by Madrid.
“This is lawfare taken to its limits: from rebels to terrorists in order to try to manipulate, again, the European arrest warrant procedure. They will fail again,” he tweeted. “Because all they will find is that we continue as we always have: with democracy, civility and non-violence.”
La lawfare portada a la seva màxima expressió: de rebels a terroristes per intentar manipular, altre cop, el procés d’euroordre. Tornaran a fracassar. Perquè només ens trobaran en l’única via que sempre hem seguit: la de la democràcia, el civisme i la no-violència.— Carles Puigdemont (@KRLS) September 29, 2019
Puigdemont’s comments came as a reaction to Cadena SER radio station reports claiming the former president’s sister, Anna, held a meeting with five of the pro-independence activists provisionally jailed last week on terrorism allegations.
Reported "secret" meeting
Cadena SER says this supposed meeting is part of the judicial investigation into the seven activists now behind bars, and is mentioned in the judge’s decree ordering their imprisonment, which has not been officially released.
According to the same report, the meeting was “secret” and aimed to “hand over sensitive documents and set up secure communications” between Carles Puigdemont and his successor as Catalan president, Quim Torra, through the former’s sister and the activists.
"This is lawfare taken to its limits: from rebels to terrorists in order to try to manipulate, again, the European arrest warrant procedure. They will fail again"
Carles Puigdemont · Former Catalan president
While the case is under a gag order, several leaks from the investigation have been released in Spanish media outlets in the past few days.
Anna Puigdemont also reacted to the news by flatly denying that the alleged meeting on September 15, 2018 had taken place.
“It is physically impossible that I took part in that meeting for family reasons, which are perfectly accredited and documented,” she said in a statement.
Anna Puigdemont also went on to deny ever having been a go-between for her brother and Torra, and she called the allegations “a campaign to criminalize and discredit.”
“We have always contemplated this desire [for independence] and fight with the absolute commitment to democratic, civic and peaceful paths,” she added on Monday morning.
Also on Monday, the Catalan parliament speaker, Roger Torrent, called Cadena SER’s reports “absolutely outlandish leaks” and sided against calls for the president to appear in the chamber to discuss the issue.
Motion of no confidence
On the other side of the political spectrum, the People’s Party leader, Pablo Casado, called on Spain’s acting president, Pedro Sánchez, to enforce the national security law in Catalonia “today.”
For Casado, “the Catalan government was involved in preparing possible attacks through CESICAT [Center for Information Security of Catalonia], which he says should not exist because "it is illegal for a region to have an intelligence agency.”
Meanwhile, the Ciutadans party leader in Catalonia, Lorena Roldán, is planning to present a motion of no confidence against Quim Torra.
As for the leader of the far-right Vox party, Santiago Abascal, he announced a lawsuit against Torra, following "the serious news in the past few days about his relationship with the CDR terrorists," and he demanded the "immediate preventive detention" of the president.