Puigdemont already in court for extradition hearing
The Catalan president and his ministers in Belgium to testify one day before the electoral campaign starts
Carles Puigdemont and his ministers in Belgium are at the Palace of Justice of Brussels, ready to testify in their extradition case. The Catalan deposed president and Ministers Comín, Ponsatí, Serret and Puig are facing the judge, who has to decide on the international arrest warrant issued by the Spanish National Court.
The Belgian prosecutor defends their extradition but rejects charging them with corruption, a crime which would have sped up the process. According to the prosecution, the hearing may last “all day”. Nevertheless, the judge is not expected to make a decision today. Indeed, the court might summon Puigdemont and his ministers for a further hearing or announce the date of his final decision. Both the defense and the Belgian prosecutor can appeal the decision up to two times.
On November 5, the Belgian justice system decided not to keep Puigdemont and his ministers—all of whom were deposed by the Spanish government—in jail while the decision on their extradition was being decided. On November 17, they faced another hearing, in which the Belgian prosecutor rejected the claim by the Spanish court that they had committed “corruption”.
If the judge has any doubts, he'll say no to extradition, says prestigious lawyer
According to one of Belgium's most prestigious criminal lawyers, Denis Bosquet, it “might be a good sign” for the defense that the prosecution ruled out corruption charges. Also, according to Bosquet that might have shown the “weakness” of the Spanish international arrest warrant itself. The lawyer also told the Catalan News Agency that the judge in charge of the case will have to decide whether the crimes that the Catalan officials are accused of have an equivalent in Belgium. “If he has any doubts regarding this, he’s going to say no” to extradition, stated Bosquet.