Sun, Nov 05, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Brussels to ‘study’ arrest warrant for Puigdemont

AFP, BRUSSELS

Brussels will “study” an EU arrest warrant issued by Spain for Catalonia’s deposed leader, who is currently in Belgium, a spokesman for the country’s state prosecutor told reporters.

“We’re going to study it and then give it to a judge,” Eric Van der Sijpt said.

A Spanish judge on Friday issued a warrant for ousted Generalitat of Catalonia president Carles Puigdemont after he failed to attend a court summons over his role in the push for independence.

Some ministers in Puigdemont’s former Cabinet are also in Belgium and subject to the warrant.

Puigdemont and his ministers must now appear in front of a Belgian judge within 24 hours, where they are to be read the charges against them.

The ousted regional leader, who has said Catalonia has earned the right to declare independence from Spain following a disputed referendum last month, on Friday said that he is willing to cooperate with Belgian authorities.

However, he said he was not convinced by guarantees of a fair trial back home, decrying the “enormous pressure and political influence on judicial power in Spain.”

Puigdemont has said that he would be willing to run as a candidate in Catalonia’s Dec. 21 snap election, which was organized after Madrid fired the region’s government after they voted to declare independence.

“I was elected. What is the purpose of [new] elections?” he asked, accusing Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of “illegally” dissolving the Catalan parliament.

“In order to resolve political problems you need to play politics. You don’t imprison those who think differently to you,” Puigdemont said.

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