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Published: Fri, November 03, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Spanish judge orders custody for Catalan leaders pending trial

Spanish judge orders custody for Catalan leaders pending trial

Carles Puigdemont did not appear before Spanish judges earlier on Thursday, but the ousted Catalan leader will cooperate with Spanish and Belgian authorities, his Belgian lawyer said.

This came after Catalan lawmakers voted to declare independence of the affluent north-eastern region.

"The fury with which the Spanish government has attacked a lovely 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.

Puigdemont and four ex-ministers are in Brussels and have ignored the summonses.

The outcry followed a Spanish judge's decision to send nine members of the ousted regional government to jail while they are investigated for promoting Catalonia's declaration of independence.

Spain has been gripped by a constitutional crisis since the referendum was held on 1 October in defiance of a constitutional court ruling that had declared it illegal. Ninety percent of voters were in favor of separating from Spain. In the text, the dismissed regional ministers are called "the legitimate government of Catalonia".

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

Puigdemont "will not go to Madrid" on Thursday because "he will not have a fair trial" in Spain, Bekaert pointed out in statements quoted by the Belgian TV station NOS and reproduced by media.

The Supreme Court said the hearing of the six regional parliament board members was postponed until November 9 following a request by their lawyers.

Five other senior members of the Catalan parliament, as well as Speaker Carme Forcadell, are facing the same charges but, because of their parliamentary immunity, their cases are being handled by the Supreme Court which has yet to hold a hearing.

The court summons also gave them three days to pay a deposit of €6.2m ($7.2m) to cover potential liabilities.

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