Spain jails 8 members of ousted Catalan government, issues EU arrest warrant for Puigdemont
Nov 02, 2017 Politics 8814 By Barakat Husseini
- Spain jails 8 members of ousted Catalan government, issues EU arrest warrant for Puigdemont.
- Puigdemont plans to remain in Belgium and cooperate with the authorities there.
- The charges include sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds
A Spanish court has on Thursday ordered that eight former leaders of Catalonia's regional government be remanded in custody as they continue to face trial over their involvement in the independence crisis that saw the region declare its short-lived independence which led to Spain imposing direct rule and subsequently calling for fresh elections in the region.
Carmen Lamela, sitting in Spain's national court, jailed the eight former ministers – including Puigdemont's deputy, Oriol Junqueras – on Thursday while they are investigated on possible charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds.
Carlos Puwigdemont had already travelled to Belgium before Spanish prosecutors indicated they would be pursuing the charges and at that point, the former Catalan leader indicated that he was not seeking Asylum in Brussels.
In a written request to Lamela, prosecutors said that Puigdemont and four other members of his administration were aware that they had been ordered to testify, but had chosen not to attend.
"Repeated attempts to deliver the summons at home and repeated phone calls have been ignored," they said. "For his part, Carles Puigdemont has publicly stated his intention not to appear and has requested … to make a statement via videoconference, without giving any information about his current whereabouts."
Consequently, they added, they were requesting Puigdemont be found and arrested, along with the four other regional ministers who are also in Belgium.
Late on Tuesday, Puigdemont's Belgian lawyer Paul Bekaert told state broadcaster VRT that a warrant had been issued for for the five Catalan politicians.
"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," he said.
"Mr Puigdemont will stay here. He has said that he will fully cooperate with Belgian authorities during the procedure," Bekaert said.
Other members of the ousted Catalan government previously appeared in Court on Thursday in response to summons from Spanish prosecutors. It is still unclear whether they could potentially face jail term for their role in attempting to break Catalonia away from Spain.
Those detained are:
Former Deputy Vice President Oriol Junqueras
Former Interior Minister Joaquim Forn
Former Foreign Affairs Minister Raül Romeva
Former Justice Minister Carles Mundó
Former Labour Minister Dolors Bassa
Former Government Presidency Councillor Jordi Turull
Former Sustainable Development Minister Josep Rull
Former Culture Minister Meritxell Borras