Global

Spain issues warrant for deposed Catalonia leader

Spain issues warrant for deposed Catalonia leader

Sacked Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has turned himself in to police, Belgium's public broadcaster VRT said on Sunday, citing a source.

Earlier, Belgian justice minister Koen Geens said his government would have no influence over the future of Mr Puigdemont or the four other Catalan officials because the European Arrest Warrants issued by Spain are "a completely legal procedure".

The broadcaster says the four deposed cabinet ministers also reported to police.

The Belgian judge will have to decide within 24 hours what comes next for the five separatist politicians wanted in Spain on suspicion of rebellion for pushing through a declaration of independence for the northeastern Catalonia in violation of Spain's Constitution.

The former leader's move comes as two polls suggested pro-Catalonia independence parties will together take the most seats in December's regional election although they may fall just short of a majority needed to revive the secession campaign.

November 2: A Spanish judge jails nine former officials of Catalonia's separatist government, and deliberates issuing a possible arrest warrant for Puigdemont, who remained in Belgium while the others were questioned in Madrid about the region's bid for independence.

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Puigdemont has said he refuses to attend any hearings unless he can be guaranteed that the judicial process he faces will be fair.

"They were put in custody at 9.17 this morning", spokesman for Brussels prosecutors Gilles Dejemeppe told a news conference on Sunday.

Puigdemont threatens to declare independence if the central government is unwilling to enter into talks with Catalan officials. The ninth spent a night behind bars before posting bail and being released.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont arrives at the Catalonian regional parliament in Barcelona on October 10, 2017.

Also in the interview he said that he was "willing to be a candidate" in the regional elections on December 21 and added that he could campaign from overseas.

Prosecutors had asked Investigative Magistrate Carmen Lamela to order the immediate detention of Puigdemont and four of his ex-ministers, who ignored court summonses to appear for questioning on Thursday over their role in an independence referendum.


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