Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



DEMOCRACY
Sacked Catalan leader freed on bail in Belgium
By Marine LAOUCHEZ with Marianne BARRIAUX in Madrid
Brussels (AFP) Nov 6, 2017


Catalonia's sacked separatist leader Carles Puigdemont and four of his former ministers were released with conditions in Belgium on Sunday after turning themselves in to face a Spanish warrant for their arrest.

A judge ordered the five, who fled Spain earlier this week after being accused of rebellion and sedition, not to leave Belgium until their extradition case is heard.

It is the latest twist in the crisis unleashed by the Catalan separatists' push to break away from Spain, sending shock waves across Europe.

- 'Fair and impartial' process -

Puigdemont and his allies escaped to Belgium last Monday after Spain dismissed the Catalan executive and imposed direct rule on the semi-autonomous region following the declaration of independence by the parliament there last month.

"They were taken into custody at 9:17 am (0817 GMT)," said Gilles Dejemeppe, a spokesman for Belgian prosecutors.

A white van believed to be carrying Puigdemont raced out of the Belgian prosecutor's office around 15 hours later, AFP reporters witnessed.

"The request made this afternoon by the Brussels' Prosecutor's Office for the provisional release of all persons sought has been granted by the investigative judge," said the statement by the prosecutor's office shortly afterwards.

The next court hearing will be in the following 15 days. Belgium has up to 60 days to decide whether to send the Catalans back to Spain.

Puigdemont's PDeCAT party said Sunday that he had turned himself in to show his "willingness not to flee from the judicial process but to defend himself in a fair and impartial process, which is possible in Belgium, and highly doubtful in Spain".

Puigdemont wrote on Twitter on Saturday that he and his colleagues -- Meritxell Serret, Antoni Comin, Lluis Puig and Clara Ponsati -- would cooperate with the Belgian authorities.

Spain issued European arrest warrants on Friday after Puigdemont and his allies ignored a summons to appear before a judge on allegations linked to the move to declare Catalonia an independent republic.

The judge in Madrid had on Thursday put Puigdemont's deputy and seven other deposed regional ministers behind bars because of a risk they would flee.

- 'Political influence' -

Puigdemont, 54, insists that Catalonia earned the right to declare independence following a banned referendum last month and has described his detained colleagues as "political prisoners".

On Sunday, protesters in Catalan cities took to the streets to demand their release.

In Barcelona, city police said about 350 people gathered on the central University Square, shouting "Freedom" and carrying posters that read "Freedom for political prisoners".

Others stuck posters demanding their release on walls throughout the city.

Puigdemont said he was not convinced by guarantees of a fair trial back home, denouncing the "enormous pressure and political influence on judicial power in Spain."

The judge could "refuse to hand over Puigdemont if there is a proven serious risk to his fundamental rights," said Anne Weyembergh, president of the Institute of European Studies at the Free University of Brussels.

She said the court would need to see evidence of criminal offences before executing the warrant.

But cases of refusal are rare, according to several lawyers interviewed by AFP.

- Election candidate -

Puigdemont, who still describes himself as Catalonia's "president," has also said he is willing to run as a candidate in the December 21 regional election called by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to "restore normality" to Catalonia.

"We want president Puigdemont to be the person who leads the big offensive we will carry out on the 21st at the polls," said Marta Pascal, a PDeCAT spokeswoman.

She said the conservative, pro-independence party was looking to put together a "big united list", a day after Puigdemont himself called for separatists to unite in the election.

During the last regional election in September 2015, Puigdemont's PDeCAT and the leftwing ERC party joined for a "Together for Yes" coalition in Catalonia, a region of 7.5 million people.

With the help of the separatist far-left CUP party, they held an absolute majority in the 135-seat Catalan parliament, which was swiftly dissolved by Madrid under a never-used constitutional move after the October 27 independence proclamation.

But there have been growing tensions between the two allies over strategy and it is not clear if they will stand together again.

ERC leader Oriol Junqueras has been in custody since Thursday along with other members of Puigdemont's dismissed government who did not flee to Belgium.

Opinion polls published in several newspapers Sunday indicated that the ERC would come first in the December election, but that the independence coalition as a whole could lose its absolute majority.

But Puigdemont's party, which has been in power in the wealthy northeastern region for much of Spain's modern democratic era, would come fourth, the surveys suggest.

burs-dk/jah

DEMOCRACY
Russians also used Instagram for disinformation campaign
Washington (AFP) Nov 1, 2017
The Russian-led effort to spread misinformation and sow discord ahead of the 2016 US election also used the social network Instagram, parent company Facebook acknowledged in Congress on Wednesday. Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch told a hearing that Instagram posts by suspect Russian accounts were seen by some 20 million Americans last year. "We now discovered, in the last 48 hours ... read more

Related Links
Democracy in the 21st century at TerraDaily.com


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

DEMOCRACY
In reversal, US tech firms back bill on human trafficking

Crime writer Ian Rankin predicts rise of 'kind and gentle' books

Dozens of alligators captured prior to child's death at Disney

Displaced Puerto Ricans find refuge in New York

DEMOCRACY
Liquids take a shine to terahertz radiation

Voltage-driven liquid metal fractals

Jellyfish-inspired electronic skin glows when it gets hurt

One-step 3-D printing of catalysts developed at Ames Laboratory

DEMOCRACY
Scientists map coastal communities most vulnerable to natural disasters

Ivory Coast inaugurates huge China-funded dam

Tiny Fiji looks for global impact at Bonn climate talks

Climate change could transform key bacterial interactions in the ocean by 2100

DEMOCRACY
Russian military to boost Arctic presence: commander

Hopes dashed for giant new Antarctic marine sanctuary

'Scars' left by icebergs record West Antarctic ice retreat

Canada caribou herds, habitat continue to decline: report

DEMOCRACY
The advent of 'green' cattle

RUDN University researcher found out what happens to organic matter on rice fields

Flour power to boost food security

Pumpkin genomes sequenced, revealing uncommon evolutionary history

DEMOCRACY
27 dead as Typhoon Damrey batters Vietnam

Future volcanic eruptions could cause more climate disruption

Tsunami reveals human noise pollution in Hawaiian waters

Two dead, thousands flee as floods hit Malaysia's Penang

DEMOCRACY
Morocco architect fights concrete with tradition

US strikes IS in Somalia for first time

Tense standoff in Juba as troops encircle ex-army chief's home

Death of soldiers highlights US military presence in Niger

DEMOCRACY
Newly discovered orangutan species is most endangered great ape

The relentless rise of migration in Europe over last 10,000 years

Study shows how memories ripple through the brain

Climbing Australia's giant red rock Uluru banned




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement