Belgian judge to decide next phase in Spain-Catalonia fight

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Nine other Catalan leaders have been jailed for their role in an independence push.

A Spanish judge has issued an global arrest warrant for Carles Puigdemont, the ousted Catalan leader, and four aides who fled with him to Brussels.

Mr Puigdemont said: "I have not fled, but it is impossible to prepare well".

The referendum on Catalonia's independence was deemed illegal by the Spanish courts, but went ahead amid scuffles with authorities.

The charges the leaders face include sedition, rebellion, misuse of funds, abuse of authority and contempt.

Since then, eight politicians and two activists have been jailed pending trial in Spain, and five others, including Puigdemont, are being held in Belgium, where he's trying to run a government in exile.

Eight former ministers from the Catalan regional government have already been imprisoned without bail in Spain while the investigation continues.




One member of the dismissed cabinet, Santi Vila, was freed after paying bail of 50,000 euros ($75,800) on Friday.

Puigdemont threatens to declare independence if the central government is unwilling to enter into talks with Catalan officials.

That delay could give Puigdemont time to participate, albeit from afar and in largely a symbolic capacity, in the snap regional election called by Spain's government for Catalonia on December 21.

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

The Belgian judge has until tonight NZT to make a decision on whether to keep Puigdemont and four ex-officials from his government in custody after their surrender to police in Brussels triggered a 24-hour deadline, according to Gilles Dejemeppe, a spokesman for the Brussels prosecutor office.

Later, however, he added that his client would appeal if a Belgian judge approved an extradition.

"People came today because we want to send a message to Europe that even if our president is still in Brussels and all our government now is in Madrid jailed, that the independence movement still didn't finish and people are still striving to get independence in a peaceful and democratic way", said 24-year-old protester Adria Ballester in Barcelona.

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