La Vanguardia: Spanish judge orders arrest of ousted Catalan leader

A Spanish government source says Puigdemont is now in Brussels

It appears likely that a European arrest warrant is now likely to be made by a High Court judge.

'I have just heard from my client that the warrant has been issued for the president and four of his ministers who are in Belgium, ' lawyer Paul Bekaert told VRT.

The detention of the secessionist leaders and Puigdemont's flight to Belgium make it hard for leading figures from the independence movement to stand in a snap election in the wealthy region called by the Spanish government for December 21.

Puigdemont said he went to Belgium to garner support from the European Union - not because he's seeking political asylum.

The case stems from the Catalan parliament's declaration of the region's independence from Spain on October 27.

But if those Catalan politicians appearing in court are denied bail it will cause further anger among those who want Catalonia to break away, our correspondent adds.

A spokesperson for Puigdemont said he would remain in Brussels with the other four ministers.

"The defendants have played an active role by propelling the carefully designed secessionist process and overcoming all kinds of obstacles that could make them deviate from their final objective", the judge said in the ruling that sent the defendants to jail.

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.

The prosecutor's request came after nine ex-ministers were quizzed at the National Court on possible charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement.

Ousted Catalan parliament speaker and prominent pro-independence activist Carme Forcadell has arrived at Spain's Supreme Court for questioning in a rebellion investigation.

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

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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