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Catalonia's Puigdemont to speak at 1130 GMT in Brussels - lawyer

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Catalonia's Puigdemont to speak at 1130 GMT in Brussels - lawyer

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TIELT, Belgium (Reuters) – Carles Puigdemont, the sacked Catalan leader, will give a news conference at 12:30 p.m. (1130 GMT) on Tuesday in Brussels, the Belgian lawyer acting for him told Reuters. Paul Bekaert, speaking at his law office at Tielt in western Flanders, said Puigdemont, who has yet to be seen in Belgium, was considering seeking asylum but it was not certain: “We have not yet decided yet. We have a lot of time to decide,” he said. “We will see in the coming weeks what we are doing.” Bekaert, who has worked as a human rights lawyer for over 40 years, said he could take on other Catalan leaders as clients. He said his experience fighting extradition requests from Madrid for Basque separatists would be useful — though new EU rules make it harder for European countries to refuse to send people to other EU states on what he called “political” charges. “I know the Spanish reaction very well. I know their psychology and their mentality,” Bekaert said, saying Puigdemont had, however, come to Belgium primarily because Brussels was “the capital of Europe” and a forum to address the wider world. He accused Madrid of abusing court processes in Spain for political ends — referring to its refusal to permit a Catalan independence referendum and pursuit of Catalan regional leaders. Puigdemont has been accused of rebellion and sedition.

(Reporting by Clement Rossignol and Lucasta Bath; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek)
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