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Published: Sun, November 05, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Spain issues arrest warrant for ousted Catalan President Carles

Spain issues arrest warrant for ousted Catalan President Carles

A Spanish judge was deliberating yesterday on whether to issue an worldwide arrest warrant for Catalonia's ousted leader a day after she jailed nine former members of the region's separatist government. The leader's request to testify by videoconference has been rejected.

A European Union arrest warrant was also issued for four other Catalan ministers who failed to show up and are also thought to be in Belgium, a court statement said.

"We will study it, and put it in the hands of an investigating judge", prosecutors' spokesman Eric Van Der Sijpt told The Associated Press.

"The EU Framework Decision provides that the final decision must be taken within 60 days, with an extension to 90 days under exceptional circumstances", the Belgian justice ministry said in a statement.

"The fury with which the Spanish government has attacked a handsome European nation is outrageous and is threatening us all", Mr Puigdemont said, adding that Catalonia's independence is "no longer an internal affair" of Spain.

Mr Bekaert said that he would "undoubtedly appeal" any court order or extradition warrant in an attempt to avoid being sent to Madrid. Puigdemont spoke at a news conference in Brussels on Tuesday and appeared on Belgian state television on Friday. "There must be a continuity to tell the world what's going on in Spain".

Puigdemont said yesterday that he was ready to run as a candidate in the election - which he can do even if detained - and today called for separatist parties to form a united front.

Another six Catalan leaders are due to testify on November 9 on the same charges.

A ninth former regional minister, Santi Vila, was released on bail. The other eight could remain in custody for up to four years.

Protesters with Catalan flags gathered in Barcelona and other Catalan towns to show their support for the jailed pro-independence politicians. While he remains a supporter of an secession he has advocated a negotiated solution with the central government.

But the longer Mr Puigdemont can delay his arrest and extradition, the greater chance he has of being a factor in the December 21 election that Spanish authorities have called as part of their temporary takeover of running the rebellious region.

The lawyers argued yesterday that Jordi Sanchez, who leads Assemblea Nacional Catalana, and Jordi Cuixart, who heads Omnium Cultural, should be released because the political situation in Catalonia has changed since the probe began last month.

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