Warrant issued for ousted Catalan leader

03 November, 2017, 00:23 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras arrives at the National Court in Madrid

Puigdemont said on Tuesday he would go back to Spain only if given unspecified guarantees by the Spanish government.

A Spanish judge on Thursday issued a European arrest warrant for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four members of his sacked cabinet, now in Belgium, after they failed to appear at a High Court hearing, newspaper La Vanguardia said.

"When someone doesn't appear after being cited by a judge to testify, in Spain or any other European Union country, normally an arrest warrant is issued", Supreme Court President Carlos Lesmes said, according to Reuters.

Spain has been in a constitutional crisis since the referendum was held on October 1 in defiance of a Constitutional Court ruling that had declared it illegal.

Last week, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy imposed direct rule on Catalonia, dissolving the regional parliament and calling snap local elections.

Cracks have appeared within the pro-independence coalition of centre-right and far-left parties as well as inside Puigdemont's own PdeCat (Democratic Catalan Party) where some of his allies are now pushing for a negotiated solution with the central government.


The ousted leader reacted to the events at Spain's National Court in Madrid as thousands of protesters took to the streets to protest at the jailings.

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

Under Spain's legal system, investigating judges can order the detention of suspects while a comprehensive probe, sometimes taking months, determines if charges should be brought.

According to AFP, the charges of which the lawmakers have been accused by prosecutors of, that is, sedition and rebellion over the region's independence drive, carry sentences of up to 15 and 30 years in jail respectively.

The courts have already told the Catalan secessionist leaders to deposit 6.2 million euros ($7.2 million) by Friday to cover potential liabilities.

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