Spain issues warrant for deposed Catalonia leader

Posted November 06, 2017

Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has maintained that the recent independence referendum was illegal.

When asked whether he will be seeking political asylum in Belgium, Puigdemont said that he did not go to Brussels for that reason.

Belgian prosecutors, who have a European arrest warrant from Spain for Puigdemont and four of his associates, will soon brief the media on the case, VRT says.

He said if they were arrested then they would be sent to jail as the extradition process continued. Spanish government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo has said that any politician can run in the election unless he or she has been convicted of a crime.

Spain have issued a European Arrest Warrant this evening for sacked Catalan leader Charles Puigdemont.

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The central government in Madrid announced it would take direct control of the region as a result, and called new elections for December 21. A ninth spent a night in jail and was freed after posting bail. Around 92 percent of people who voted were in favor of seceding from Spain.

Catalan is relatively autonomous from Spain in several ways, including having its own local government led by Puigdemont.

DW reporter Charlotte Chelsom-Pill, who was at the scene, said demonstrators chanted "We are not afraid" as they waited for the return of the six Catalan officials who appeared in the Supreme Court.

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. The other eight could remain in custody for up to four years.

Also on Thursday, six other Catalan lawmakers appeared in a parallel session in the Supreme Court, where they were given a week to prepare their defense ahead of a new hearing on November 9.

Hundreds of pro-secession Catalans gathered in town squares across the region Sunday to put up posters in support of independence and to demand the release of the jailed separatists.

The grassroots group Catalan National Assembly has also called for a strike on Wednesday and a public protest on Saturday.

Puigdemont and his fellow separatists claim that an illegal referendum on secession held on October 1 that polled 43 percent of the electorate and failed to meet worldwide standards gives them a mandate for independence.