The judge leading the investigation into the Catalan independence process against the then government and Parliament, Pablo Llarena, has been summonsed by a Belgian court for 4th September. He is to testify as a suspect in a civil lawsuit announced today in a press conference by the members of the government in exile in Belgium. Toni Comín, accompanied by fellow ministers Meritxell Serret and Lluís Puig, said that "so far our defence had been strictly focused on avoiding extradition, but under advice from our lawyers, we believe more robust legal actions are needed".
The lawsuit was filed some weeks ago, but the summons wasn't announced publicly before the lawsuit was accepted for consideration.
The Catalan government in exile, which also includes Clara Ponsatí and president Carles Puigdemont, alleges that "the judge hasn't limited himself to writing a series of positions which we consider to lay bare that we're being persecuted for our political ideas, but he's also done so outside of his jurisdictional action, outside of the courts in which he expresses these prejudices which show that we're being persecuted for our ideas". This is referring to comments the judge made at a conference in Oviedo, Asturias.
Following this lawsuit, the ministers have also presented Spain's Supreme Court with an application for the judge's recusal from the case, arguing that the Spanish Penal Code "unequivocally" states that judge having a case pending relating to some part of an investigation they are leading is a motive for their recusal.
Supreme Court sources, however, say they are still unaware of either the summons from Belgium or the recusal application.
The judge can decide to not travel to Belgium to testify and delegate his representation to a lawyer.