European arrest warrant issued for ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and aides

A man holds up an “esteladas,” or Catalonia independence flag in front of a Spanish national police officer outside the National Court in Madrid Thursday. A Spanish judge has ordered nine ex-members of the government in Catalonia jailed while they

November 3: A Spanish judge issues an global arrest warrant for Puigdemont and four aides who were last seen in Brussels.

The judge rejected a request from Puigdemont to testify via video conference from Belgium.

They will go before a judge who will have until Monday morning to decide the next step, which could include executing arrest warrants against the men or imposing bail requirements, said Gilles Dejemeppe, a spokesman for the Brussels prosecutor's office. "We will give it to an investigative judge maybe tomorrow or the day after", Eric Van der Sypt told Reuters.

The central government responded by dismissing Mr Puigdemont's executive, imposing direct rule and calling fresh Catalonia elections on December 21.

Mr Puigdemont's rallying cry came a day after a Spanish judge issued an arrest warrant against him, with prosecutors seeking to charge him with rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds over his secessionist drive.

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Puigdemont travelled to Belgium and has said he will not return unless he's guaranteed a fair trial.

Puigdemont and 13 former ministers were ordered to appear before the Spanish high court on Thursday.

"You mustn't forget that we're the legitimate government", Puigdemont said.

The Spanish government have said that the jailing of the Catalan politicians is not politically motivated. "I am ready to be a candidate.it's possible to run a campaign from anywhere", he had said.

In protest at the jailings, Catalan civic groups Asamblea Nacional Catalana and Omnium Cultural - whose leaders were imprisoned last month on sedition charges - called for a general strike on November 8 and a mass demonstration on November 11.

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In all, Spanish prosecutors are investigating 20 regional politicians for rebellion and other crimes that could be punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Vila stepped down from the Catalan cabinet before the independence declaration.

Hundreds of pro-secession Catalans gathered in towns across the region on Sunday.

Puigdemont and four of his allies flew to Belgium after the Spanish government sacked the Catalan leaders and called for an election.

"Some even mention the idea of a federal model so that regions can have more autonomy, including financially".

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