Ex-Catalan leader bids to avoid extradition as Belgium receives arrest warrant

Ex-Catalan leader bids to avoid extradition as Belgium receives arrest warrant

A Spanish court has issued a European arrest warrant for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four other regional ministers.

Puigdemont, who had to testify before Spain's National Court on Thursday as he faces rebellion, sedition and embezzlement charges following the Catalan referendum, has fled to Belgium.

Spain's state prosecutor had asked the judge to issue such a warrant earlier in the day.

"We will study it, and put it in the hands of an investigating judge", prosecutors' spokesman Eric Van Der Sijpt told The Associated Press.

The magistrate of the high court will decide in the next few hours if she sends them to jail for the charges related to the sovereignty process in that region, which culminated on October 27 with the proclamation of a Catalan Republic by the regional parliament.

Instead, he discussed strategy for the December snap election Spain's government has called as part of its temporary takeover of Catalonia.

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De Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo made an appearance in the parade as well, marching a few blocks up near 14th Street. Cuomo calls the driver a "depraved coward", and says the attack "did not instill terror" among hardy New Yorkers.

The detention of the secessionist leaders and Puigdemont's journey to Belgium have given a new boost to the secessionist camp after cracks had appeared in its ranks.

The lawyers argued yesterday that Jordi Sanchez, who leads Assemblea Nacional Catalana, and Jordi Cuixart, who heads Omnium Cultural, should be released because the political situation in Catalonia has changed since the probe began last month.

In protest at the jailings, Catalan civic groups Asamblea Nacional Catalana and Omnium Cultural - whose leaders were imprisoned last month on sedition charges - called for a general strike on November 8 and a mass demonstration on November 11. The other eight could remain in custody for up to four years. While he remains a supporter of an secession he has advocated a negotiated solution with the central government.

In the Basque city of Bilbao in northern Spain, several thousand people marched Saturday despite the rain to protest the intervention of the Spanish government in Catalonia's self-rule.

The Spanish government have said that the jailing of the Catalan politicians is not politically motivated.

"Some even mention the idea of a federal model so that regions can have more autonomy, including financially".

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