The deposed leaders of Catalonia’s separatist government have begun arriving at court in Madrid to face possible charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds over their roles in last week’s declaration of independence. Notable by his likely absence, however, is the dismissed Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, who is in Brussels and refusing to come, according to his lawyer. “He will not go to Madrid and I have suggested that he be questioned here in Belgium,” Paul Bekaert told Spain’s TV3 television on Wednesday. The hearing at the national court in Madrid, which deals with major criminal cases, began at 9am and will continue on Friday.
Catalonia’s former vice-president, Oriol Junqueras, was the first to arrive at the court. He went in accompanied by lawyers, passing by dozens of journalists, and declining to answer questions.
Assumpció Lailla, a former politician with Catalonia’s Democrats party, said she had travelled to Madrid joining about 100 other politicians and elected officials to show support to those investigated in the rebellion investigation.
“This is an unjust situation in which they are being investigated for facilitating democracy,” she told Associated Press. “I don’t understand how Europe can look away from democracy.”