Spain issues global arrest warrant for ex-Catalan leader

05 November, 2017, 02:17 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Supporters of Catalonian independence

The time has come for all democrats to unite. On Thursday the 54-year-old ignored a summons to appear before the same judge in Madrid.

The Prosecutor requested today the Spanish National Court (AN) to issue an European arrest warrant against the deposed President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont and four members of his government, who are in Belgium.

The former Catalan leader, who is now in Belgium, has left Spain after authorities in Madrid dismissed him and his administration and set a date for a snap election in Catalonia over the declaration of the autonomous region's independence.

Puigdemont has said he will cooperate with Belgium authorities, but would not return to Spain to face the charges due to "enormous pressure and political influence" on the judiciary back home.

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On the other side of the political divide over Catalonia, a senior official of a large separatist party, the Republican Left, conditioned her party's participation in the December 21 elections on the release of all the jailed separatists.

But the authorities said any appeals process could last for up to three months.

Protesters in the wealthy northeastern region have held frequent demonstrations, chanting and waving Catalan flags while calling for the officials' release, and a big pro- independence march is planned for November 11. Puigdemont has left the door open to running. The next day, Spain's central government used extraordinary constitutional powers to fire Catalonia's government and dissolve its regional parliament.

In a tweet, he referred to an online petition calling for the creation of a combined independent candidate list, which by today afternoon had received over 50,000 signatures.

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"Elections here can only happen here if we say they do", Rovira said.

Parties that wish to stand together in a coalition in the polls must announce this by November 7. The other four people named in warrants are Toni Comin, Clara Ponsati, Lluis Puig and Meritxell Serret.

If an arrest warrant is issued, Puigdemont will fight extradition without seeking political asylum, according to his Belgian lawyer.

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