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Spain requests European arrest warrant for sacked Catalan leader

03 November 2017, 12:37 | Marta Robbins

Catalan leaders due before Madrid court on rebellion charge

A Spanish government source says Puigdemont is now in Brussels

A Spanish judge on Thursday jailed eight leaders of the former Catalan government after judging them a flight risk ahead of potential trials for rebellion and sedition.

Judge Carmen Lamela has also been asked to approve an global arrest warrant for former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and four other regional ministers who fled to Belgium and failed to report to court Thursday.

Catalan political parties and civic groups denounced the decision to "jail the legitimate government of Catalonia" and hundreds of people gathered outside the Catalan regional parliament calling for them to be freed.

In response to Catalonia declaring independence weeks later, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy stripped the region of its autonomy and unseated its legislators.

Because Puigdemont didn't show up for questioning, the court might issue a European warrant for his arrest.

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'It is quite obvious that my client will take now the attitude of waiting to see what happens, ' said the Belgian lawyer Paul Bekaert, when asked about whether the pro-independence leader will appear in court in Spain.

A spokesperson for Puigdemont said he would remain in Brussels with the other four ministers.

The ninth minister was granted bail of 50,000 euros ($58,000).

On Tuesday, AN Judge Carmen Lamela admitted the legal action by the Attorney General's Office of the State against the former Catalonian president and all the members of his cabinet for alleged crimes of rebelliousness, sedition and embezzlement. Vila resigned before the regional parliament voted in favour of independence.



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