Spain Could Issue An Arrest Warrant For Ousted Catalan Leader

Protesters wave Spanish and Catalan Senyera flag while holding a sign reading

Mr Puigdemont, and 19 others, face charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

The high court, known as the the Audiencia Nacional, had ordered Puigdemont and the 13 other ministers to appear.

The prosecutor has asked the National Court judge to issue an global arrest warrant against them.

Puigdemont said he went to Belgium to garner support from the European Union - not because he's seeking political asylum.

Puigdemont's lawyer Paul Bekaert told Reuters that his client would not travel to Spain where the political climate was "not good", but would cooperate with Spanish and Belgian justice.

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If Mr Puigdemont fails to appear before the court, an arrest warrant could be issued that would in turn prevent him from standing in the snap regional election called by the Spanish government for 21 December.

The ousted leader reacted to the events at Spain's National Court in Madrid as thousands of protesters took to the streets to protest at the jailings. Ninety percent of voters were in favor of separating from Spain.

Before appearing in court today (November 2), the prosecution had requested that eight of the former regional government ministers were jailed.

Another, Santi Vila, who stepped down from the Catalan cabinet before a unilateral declaration of independence last Friday and has since then been pushing for a negotiated solution with the government, was granted bail of €50,000.

Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said despite the fact that Puigdemont is in Brussels, "there's no tension" between the Madrid government and that of Brussels. It was as yet unknown why their hearings were adjourned by the court, which deals with cases involving lawmakers.

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