Puigdemont includes Spain in lawsuit against Spanish judge Llarena
Lawyers want the Belgian judge to ask Luxembourg about the immunity of Spain in the case
The legal defense of exiled former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has expanded the lawsuit against the Spanish judge Pablo Llarena to include Spain.
Carles Puigdemont made the announcement himself in Waterloo on Friday afternoon to the media.
Puigdemont said: "Following the active role of the Kingdom of Spain in this demand, which was previously against just one individual, we thought it appropriate, as it is already a European issue, that it was necessary to expand it."
Pablo Llarena is the Supreme Court judge who was handling the Catalan independence case before it entered the trial phase. He issued international arrest warrants for Puigdemont and other exiled leaders, but withdrew them after it became apparent they could be rejected.
"Spain must defend its jurisdictional sovereignty when it is questioned"
Pedro Sánchez · Spanish president
The reasons behind the original lawsuit include the fact that, according to Puigdemont and his ministers in Brussels, their rights to “an impartial and independent judge” had been violated, as well as their right to a “fair trial” and the “presumption of innocence.”
Spain's president Pedro Sánchez came out in defense of Llarena, calling it a "state matter." He said that "Spain must defend its jurisdictional sovereignty when it is questioned."
The Spanish government allocated 545,000 euros in order to contract a law firm in Belgium for the defence of Llarena.
Puigdemont: "Fundamental rights at stake"
In his press conference on Friday, the ex Catalan president also stressed that “fundamental rights are at stake.” His defense team has requested that the Belgian judge ask the European Union to clarify the immunity of the Spanish state in this case.
Specifically, the lawsuit includes the petition because the Belgian judge has asked the EU court whether the immunity of Spain, "invoked to reject the [Belgian] court’s power of jurisdiction in the framework of a civil liability action against a member state is compatible with the fundamental principles of EU law."