Catalan separatists keep up fight against Spanish government

Yellow ribbons replace jailed Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) leader Oriol Junqueras and former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont during a session in Catalonia’s regional parliament in Barcelona. (Reuters)
Updated 01 March 2018

Catalan separatists keep up fight against Spanish government

MADRID: Separatist parties in Catalonia’s regional parliament are continuing to defy the Spanish government, insisting Thursday that fugitive Catalan ex-president Carles Puigdemont is their legitimate leader despite a ruling by Spain’s Constitutional Court that he can’t take office.
The three parties also used their majority to approve a motion recognizing a regional independence referendum last October as legally valid, even though the Constitutional Court had ruled it couldn’t go ahead.
Though largely symbolic, the developments keep alive Spain’s worst political crisis in decades, with the tension between Madrid and the Catalan capital Barcelona showing no sign of easing up.
The confrontation in recent months has led to charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement against some separatist leaders and prompted the national government to impose direct rule over Catalonia from Madrid.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in a tweet that “the radicalism of some people in Catalonia” is hurting the region’s economy and the well-being of families.
The Catalan parliamentary motion stopped short of making Puigdemont president — a move that could have brought legal action by the Constitutional Court.
Puigdemont and four members of his former Cabinet fled to Belgium in October, days after regional separatist lawmakers passed a unilateral and illegal independence declaration.
The former Catalan leader received the most votes among separatist candidates in a regional election late last year called by Spanish authorities as a way out of the crisis. He wants to be reinstated in his old job as Catalonia’s leader.
But Spain’s top court said in January that Puigdemont must return to the country and be present in the regional parliament to form a new government.
The Supreme Court is looking into whether two dozen Catalan separatists should be charged for rebellion and sedition, which can be punished with decades in prison.


Bangladesh sentences 10 to death for 2001 political bombings

Updated 2 min 56 sec ago

Bangladesh sentences 10 to death for 2001 political bombings

  • Six of the defendants sentenced to death have absconded
  • inHarkat-ul Jihad al-Islami’s former chief Mufti Abdul Hannan was executed in 2017

DHAKA: A court in Bangladesh on Monday sentenced 10 members of a banned militant group to death for a bomb attack on a Communist Party rally in 2001.
Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Court’s Judge Mohammed Rabiul Alam made the order in a crowded courtroom while four of the defendants were in the dock. Six of the defendants sentenced to death have absconded. The court acquitted two others who fled. All of them belong to the banned group Harkat-ul Jihad Al-Islami.
The group considers the Communist Party an anti-Islamic force. On Jan. 20, 2001, bomb attacks on a party rally in Dhaka killed five people and wounded 50 others.
Alam said investigators found Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami’s former chief Mufti Abdul Hannan responsible for the party attack but his name was dropped from the case because he was executed in 2017. He was hanged for a separate case involving a grenade attack on a British high commissioner in Bangladesh.