Complying with a procedural demand in reaction to European arrest warrants Spain has issued for Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont and four other Catalan ministers, who are in Belgium, the Catalans turned themselves into the custody of Belgian authorities, earlier today.
Now, their fate, the fate of democracy and the fate and the form of future democratic actions to sovereignty, hang on the decision of a Belgian investigative judge, who could rule by Monday, whether to return the Catalans to Spain to face a more than likely an unfair trial or to allow the democracy believers to stay in Belgium pending further hearings per guarantees of their human rights.
Without any frills, Belgian should allow the Catalans asylum status. The entire tone of Madrid's central government toward the Catalan leaders, has been prejudicial before and after Catalonia's October 1 referendum on independence and even more prejudicial following Catalonia's declaration of a Republic on October 27.
Madrid quickly removed Catalonia's leaders and without establishing a commission to looking into the grievances and concerns of the Catalonia region, Madrid's prosecutor voiced that charges of rebellion, sedition and the misuse of government funds, should be brought against the leaders for holding a democratic process to wit: a referendum. Moreover, Madrid's government quickly arrested and detained eight Catalan leaders, who willingly trusted the democratic system and showed up at a Madrid court, to answer a summons. Now they are in jail and Madrid wants to jail another five for daring to hold a democratic referendum.
At no time during Catalonia's recent aspiration to sovereignty did its leadership use or incite violence as a means to their ambition. Therefore, it remains very undemocratic that under the circumstance that the leaders of Catalonia and their people, utilizing a democratic process, should be punished.
Emphatically, Belgium now has the reasonable opportunity to re-insert democratic principle into a current affair that if left alone to Madrid's ruling, could re-emerge under an ugly violent-form to transcend the lines of Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and the globe in general.
A possible solution: Belgium should grant protected status to Catalonia's leaders; Spain should release Catalonia's detained ministers; Spain should terminate criminal prosecution of Catalans in connection with a democratic process on the part of the people; Spain should establish a fair and transparent commission to look into the grievances of Catalonia, and upon findings; Spain should invite other European Union(EU) partners in executing recommendations that will better the unity, the operation, the mechanism and the communication between regions of nations, which will inevitably, all lead to a closer and stronger EU.