MADRID, Nov. 6 – The Spanish government said on Monday it respected the decision made by a Belgian judge on Sunday to allow former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and his four ex-councilors to remain at liberty, as proceedings were underway to send them back to Spain.
“Given that we are speaking of a system which is as democratic as Spain’s, the government has the maximum respect for the decision taken by judges in Spain and in Belgium and in all of the states where there is a separation of powers and judicial independence,” said Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria.
Despite the different criteria used by the Spanish judge who decided to send the members of the former Catalan regional government to prison and the Belgian judge who allowed Puigdemont to remain at liberty, Saenz de Santamaria said she respects the “way that Belgian and Spanish acted.”
Arriving at a meeting with Extremadura region leader Fenandez Vara, the Spanish deputy prime minister said that she did not know how long the process would take before the former Catalan leader would be brought to Spain.
Puigdemont and four former members of his “cabinet” who were wanted by the Spanish government turned themselves in voluntarily to the federal judicial police of Brussels on Sunday morning.
The Belgian examining magistrate released under conditions Puigdemont and four ex-members of his “cabinet” later.
They are accused by the Spanish government, like the other eight former members of the “cabinet,” of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement of public funds, plus disobedience and prevarication, following the unilateral declaration of independence of the region on Oct. 1.
The five left Spain to arrive in Belgium over one week ago.
Spain on Friday issued a European detention order for Puigdemont and his companions after former Catalan deputy leader Oriol Junqueras and 7 former members of Puigdemont’s sacked regional government were remanded in custody on Thursday, pending investigation into the charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of funds.
(Copyright Xinhua, obtained through National News Agency)