Brus­sels

The Week (US) - - 8 News -

Cata­lan ar­rests: Ousted Cata­lan Pres­i­dent Car­les Puigde­mont and four mem­bers of his re­gional cabi­net turned them­selves in to Bel­gian po­lice this week, after Spain filed an in­ter­na­tional ar­rest war­rant for their role in Oc­to­ber’s dis­puted in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum. All five were re­leased, but barred from leav­ing Bel­gium. Puigde­mont and his col­leagues fled to Bel­gium last month after Span­ish Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy used his con­sti­tu­tional pow­ers to fire Cat­alo­nia’s re­gional gov­ern­ment for at­tempt­ing to se­cede from Madrid. Since then, eight Cata­lan politi­cians and two ac­tivists have been jailed pend­ing trial on charges in­clud­ing re­bel­lion. Puigde­mont has said he won’t will­ingly re­turn to Spain be­cause the coun­try’s courts “can’t guar­an­tee a fair and in­de­pen­dent sen­tence.” It could take up to two months for Bel­gian courts to de­cide whether the five Cata­lans can be ex­tra­dited.

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