Catalan leaders due before Madrid court on rebellion charge
03 November, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Katrina Soto
Because Puigdemont didn't show up for questioning, the court might issue a European warrant for his arrest.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, meanwhile, is in Brussels with ministers Meritxell Serret, Toni Comin, Clara Ponsati and Lluis Puig.
"If they ask, he will cooperate with Spanish and Belgian justice", lawyer Paul Bekaert told Reuters after Puigdemont and his four associates ignored an order to appear before the High Court to answer charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds relating to the region's secessionist drive.
Mr Puigdemont and several ousted Cabinet members remain in Brussels, where he said they are seeking "safety and freedom" while judges back in Spain investigate them for pushing Catalan secession.
"The fury with which the Spanish government has attacked a attractive European nation is outrageous and is threatening us all", Mr Puigdemont said, adding that Catalonia's independence is "no longer an internal affair" of Spain.
In Madrid, 20 secessionist leaders had been summoned by two separate courts to testify over their role in holding a banned October 1 referendum on secession and later proclaiming independence from Spain. On Tuesday, the Spanish government said Catalonia will have a regional election in December.
Mr Puigdemont and his government were sacked on Friday by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy hours after passing a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain through the regional parliament.
The judiciary and the Spanish government have insisted that the legal action taken against the leaders of the independence movement is technically sound and that the country's separation of powers is robust.
The Supreme Court adjourned hearings into former members of the Catalan parliament until 9 November to give them time to prepare a defence.
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