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29 Apr, 2019 17:20

Catalan independence leader Puigdemont denied visa by Canadian government

Catalan independence leader Puigdemont denied visa by Canadian government

The former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has been denied a visa by the Canadian government after he was invited to speak in the country by Quebec separatists.

Puigdemont’s electronic travel authorization (ETA) was revoked the night before he was due to fly to Quebec for a speaking tour with the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal – an organization that advocates for Quebec's independence.

The separatist organization behind the invitation are reportedly outraged by the entry denial and have challenged the decision, which will be heard in federal court on Monday, according to Radio Canada International. The group have suggested that the approval, and subsequent revocation of the visa suggests political intervention.

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A spokesperson for the Canadian immigration minister, Ahmed Hussen, refused to comment on the individual case but said reasons for revoking an ETA include “criminality, having a serious health problem, having lied in their application or during an interview.”

Puigdemont sought exile in Belgium in 2017 after he led Catalonia’s push to secede from Spain. If he were to return to Spain he faces up to 25 years in prison.

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