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Spanish judge orders custody for Catalan leaders pending trial

03 November 2017

State Attorney General Jose Manuel Maza has filed those charges against them due to their hypothetical responsibility for the unilateral declaration of independence approved last Friday in the Catalonian Parliament.

Mr Puigdemont's handling of the crisis has drawn criticism among some other Catalan politicians, with left-wing parliamentary deputy Joan Josep Nuet criticising him for creating "yet more bewilderment".

'I have just heard from my client that the warrant has been issued for the president and four of his ministers who are in Belgium, ' lawyer Paul Bekaert told VRT.

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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.

A Spanish judge has jailed eight ousted Catalan ministers, after the region attempted to declare independence.

A decision on a warrant for his arrest is expected to follow the testimonies of the remaining nine members of Puigdemont's sacked cabinet who have appeared in court. In the text, the dismissed regional ministers are called "the legitimate government of Catalonia".

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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.

Under Spain's legal system, investigating judges can order the detention of suspects while a comprehensive probe, sometimes taking months, determines if charges should be brought.

All of them refused to respond to questioning with the exception of former minister Villa, who spoke for about 40 minutes.

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The former Catalan ministers have been accused of sedition, rebellion and misusing public funds.

Spanish judge orders custody for Catalan leaders pending trial