Spain Could Issue An Arrest Warrant For Ousted Catalan Leader

Spain Could Issue An Arrest Warrant For Ousted Catalan Leader

Spain Could Issue An Arrest Warrant For Ousted Catalan Leader

The state prosecutor in Madrid later asked the court to issue national and European arrest warrants for Puigdemont and the four other ministers.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, meanwhile, is in Brussels with ministers Meritxell Serret, Toni Comin, Clara Ponsati and Lluis Puig.

Mr Puigdemont's lawyer in Belgium said his client would stay away from Spain while the political climate was "not good"; but he would cooperate with the courts.

Dastis said he believes Puigdemont will not seek political asylum in Belgium.

An investigation could take years before it leads to a trial.

If Mr Puigdemont fails to appear before the court, an arrest warrant could be issued that would in turn prevent him from standing in the snap regional election called by the Spanish government for 21 December.

In Madrid, 20 secessionist leaders had been summoned by two separate courts to testify over their role in holding a banned October 1 referendum on secession and later proclaiming independence from Spain.

Mr Puigdemont reacted on Twitter to the jailing of nine members of his former Cabinet, posting that "the legitimate government of Catalonia has been jailed for its ideas".

Eight sacked Catalan ministers have been remanded in custody by a Spanish high court judge over the region's push for independence.

Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said despite the fact that Puigdemont is in Brussels, "there's no tension" between the Madrid government and that of Brussels.

A lawyer for several of the jailed Catalan leaders said they would appeal against the judge's decision.

Former ministers in the deposed Catalan government arrive at court.

The Supreme Court adjourned hearings into former members of the Catalan parliament until 9 November to give them time to prepare a defence.

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