The extradition hearing for former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont is to take place on December 16th. The court of first instance in Brussels has accepted the request by the president in exile's defence lawyers and postponed the hearing until December, as Puigdemont announced when he left the court.
Puigdemont was summonsed to appear this Tuesday morning at 9am at the Chambre du Conseil in Brussels, where he arrived accompanied by Catalan businessman Jami Matamala. His lawyers, Gonzalo Boye and Paul Bekaert, were already waiting outside the court.
Leaving the Chambre, he told the waiting media that "on December 16th we will be back here and we will put ourselves into the hands of justice which, as always, works with full independence."
Puigdemont's defence team explained that during this time they will prepare their arguments, which will be the same as for the previous European Arrest Warrant, but this time, in addition, they will argue that the former Catalan president has immunity as he was elected as an MEP in last May's European elections.
As expected, the Belgian prosecutors are to demand the extradition of the former president for sedition and misuse of public funds, charges which were also included in Spain's first extradition claim for Puigdemont, presented in 2017.
The Spanish government's threat
Meanwhile, the acting Spanish deputy PM, Carmen Calvo, warned the Belgium authorities on Tuesday that her government "will not understand" if Puigdemont is not handed over to Spanish justice by Belgian's courts, saying that if this point was reached, Spain would take "decisions", alluding to a possible reduction in bilateral cooperation.
Reacting to these statements, lawyer Gonzalo Boye commented that Spain's warning to Belgium "helps greatly" in his client's case. Boye "thanked" Calvo for these statements and reiterated that the defence team they are "very relaxed" about the outcome of the extradition process against Puigdemont in Belgium.