Sacked Catalan leader Puigdemont 'not seeking asylum' in Brussels

Says he left for Belgium to make the Catalan problem clear in the ‘heart of Europe’.

Just days after Spain’s central government took direct control of Catalonia and sacked officials, ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has stated that he is not trying to escape justice but carrying on his fight for Catalan independence from the “safety” of Belgium.

While speaking at a press conference today, Puigdemont clarified that he is ‘not seeking asylum’ in Brussels. It was earlier speculated that Puigdemont was meeting lawyers in Brussels and was being offered an asylum by the Belgian capital.

The ousted leader also said that he and other Catalan officials do not accept the imposition of direct rule, and have left for Belgium ‘to make the Catalan problem clear in the heart of Europe’.

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“I want a clear commitment from the state. Will the state respect the results that could give separatist forces a majority?” Puigdemont asked media.

Puigdemont and his five former Catalan ministers have reportedly assured that they would return ‘immediately’ if a fair judicial process is guaranteed in Spain.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has also clarified that Puigdemont would be treated like any other European citizen. “Mr Puigdemont has the same rights and responsibilities as any European citizen - no more, no less,” he added.

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