Catalan independence leader Carles Puigdemont tells jailed politicians: 'Do whatever you need to do to get out'

Carles Puigdemont, seen here on separatist posters, sent a bullish message to his former comrades this morning

Carles Puigdemont, seen here on separatist posters, sent a bullish message to his former comrades this morning

Friday, December 1, 2017

The exiled leader of Catalonia has sent a message of defiance to his jailed former colleagues, telling them to "do whatever you need to do to get out."

Carles Puigdemont sent the message to his former comrades, including Oriol Junqueras, Carme Forcadell, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, via Twitter from Belgium, where he has been living in exile since declaring independence from Spain at the end of October.

The Spanish government imposed article 155, an emergency powers clause granting the power to seize key institutions, upon Catalonia in the wake of the independence declaration. But Puigdemont tweeted that he did not accept the imposition of this clause and needed the help of his fellow separatist leaders to fight it.

He wrote: "Jordis, councillors and imprisoned councillors, we want you home. You have to leave the prison because you should never have entered.

"Do whatever you need to do to get out. We have a lot of work to do and we need you to face the tripartate of 155. I want to meet again soon!"

Puigdemont is due to face an extradition hearing on Monday (December 4) as the Spanish government bids to bring him back to face sedition charges in Madrid for his role in organising Catalonia's illegal referendum on October 1 and the subsequent independence declaration. He maintains that the charges have no justification or foundation.

Catalonia is due to hold fresh elections on December 21, imposed by the national government. It is unclear whether the separatists would seek a fresh referendum if they emerge victorious, but four of the jailed politicians - Junqueras, Romeva, Dolors Bassa and Carles Mundo - this week submitted a statement to Spain's Supreme Court promising they will only pursue independence by "peaceful and democratic" means in future.

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