An worldwide arrest warrant has been filed for Catalan's leader

04 November, 2017, 00:29 | Author: Ora Austin
  • 4 Jewish things you need to know about Catalonia

A European Arrest Warrant has been requested by the Spanish state prosecutor for the ousted leader of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont.

Runaway Puigdemont who earlier sought guarantees of a fair trial for him and his colleagues previously said he would return to Spain but his recent comments from Belgium made it clear that he is not coming back to Madrid anytime soon.

A total of 20 regional politicians will face charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement, crimes that could land them in prison for up to 30 years.

Those 13 other officials were also scheduled to appear in court Thursday - nine did.

It comes as eight former Catalan ministers are jailed by a Spanish high court judge over the independence referendum. Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Puigdemont said he was not in the Belgian capital to escape justice but to "put the Catalan issue at the heart of the European Union".

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In its November report, the Bank of Spain said that in the worst case scenario, the political uncertainty caused by an illegal secessionist drive could reduce Spanish economic growth by 2.5 percentage points between end-2017 and 2019.

In response to Catalonia declaring independence weeks later, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy stripped the region of its autonomy and unseated its legislators. Voter turnout was nearly 43 percent.

An worldwide arrest warrant will likely be issued Friday for Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium Monday.

If Puigdemont is arrested it would make it unlikely that he could participate in regional elections, called by Spain after it sacked the Catalan government last week, on December 21.

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