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m3n4.net November 25, 2017


Protests Erupt in Catalonia After Former Leaders Are Jailed

03 November 2017, 12:21 | Tara Lloyd

Catalonia: Sacked leaders summoned to Madrid court

A Spanish government source says Puigdemont is now in Brussels

Spain's High Court issued a summons for Puigdemont and 13 of his colleagues to appear in the Madrid-based court on Thursday and Friday.

The state prosecutor in Madrid later asked the court to issue national and European arrest warrants for Puigdemont and the four other ministers.

On Monday, Spain's chief prosecutor said the Catalan leaders were accused of rebellion - which carries a maximum 30-year jail term - as well as sedition and misuse of funds.

He was scheduled to testify about his role in the region's parliament declaring independence in late October.

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The outcry followed a Spanish judge's decision to send nine members of the ousted regional government to jail while they are investigated for promoting Catalonia's declaration of independence.

"We have to admit that because this is a very special case it could pose political questions", said Maxime Chome, a lawyer and legal expert at Brussels Free University.

This constitutional crisis began when Catalan officials held an independence referendum last month, despite the Spanish government saying it was illegal.

Cracks have appeared within the pro-independence coalition of centre-right and far-left parties as well as inside Puigdemont's own PdeCat (Democratic Catalan Party) where some of his allies are now pushing for a negotiated solution with the central government. With Puigdemont and four others in Belgium, only 15 turned up.

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Five other senior members of the Catalan parliament, as well as Speaker Carme Forcadell, are facing the same charges but, because of their parliamentary immunity, their cases are being handled by the Supreme Court which has yet to hold a hearing.

But instead, magistrate Carmen Lamela chose to jail eight of the politicians, only setting bail for Santi Vila, who had opposed last week's unilateral declaration.

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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