Catalonia Catalan ex-leader to speak in Brussels as asylum speculation swirls

Belgium's immigration minister, a member of the Flemish separatist N-VA party, suggested on Saturday that Puigdemont.

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Catalonia's deposed separatist leader Carles Puigdemont will hold a press conference in Brussels, members of the European Parliament said, a day after he arrived in Belgium as Spanish prosecutors demanded he be charged with rebellion play

Catalonia's deposed separatist leader Carles Puigdemont will hold a press conference in Brussels, members of the European Parliament said, a day after he arrived in Belgium as Spanish prosecutors demanded he be charged with rebellion

(AFP/File)
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Catalonia's deposed separatist leader Carles Puigdemont will hold a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday, members of the European Parliament said, a day after he arrived in Belgium as Spanish prosecutors demanded he be charged with rebellion.

"Catalan President @krls will give a press conference at 12:30" at the capital's press club," Catalan separatist MEP Jordi Sole Ferrando said on Twitter, adding. "We'll be there."

Belgium's immigration minister, a member of the Flemish separatist N-VA party, suggested on Saturday that Puigdemont -- who was removed from office as Catalonia's president last week by Madrid's central government -- could receive asylum.

A Belgian lawyer who specialises in asylum issues confirmed that Puigdemont had designated him as his legal representative.

"I've asked for asylum for Spanish people four times before and it's always worked, it's legal," Bekaert told AFP.

However on Monday night Bekaert told Flemish television VRT that "Puigdemont is not in Belgium to request asylum", only to prepare a legal riposte to any eventual moves by Madrid.

"On this matter (asylum) nothing has yet been decided," Bekaert told Flemish television VRT.

"I have more than 30 years of experience with the extradition and political asylum for Spanish Basques, and it's probably because of this experience that he came to me."

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, from the country's French-speaking community, has poured cold water on the suggestion by immigration minister Theo Francken that asylum was a possibility for Puigdemont.

The N-VA said it had not invited the axed Catalan leader to Brussels.

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