Madrid, Nov 2 : The Spanish prosecutor's office on Thursday requested that a European Arrest Warrant be issued against the recently-ousted president of the Catalonia region and the four former cabinet members who are believed to be with him in Brussels.

Carles Puigdemont and the ex-cabinet members are currently facing charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds for their involvement in an illegal independence referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence, Efe reports.

Hours after the declaration, the Spanish Senate triggered Article 155 of the Constitution, rescinding Catalonia's regional autonomy, dismissing Puigdemont and his cabinet and calling for regional elections on December 21.

Spain's public prosecutor filed a lawsuit against Puigdemont, his cabinet, the speaker of the regional parliament and five top officials in the regional chamber, but by then the president and some of the cabinet had gone to Belgium.

While those who remained in Spain appeared before the National Court on Thursday, Puigdemont's lawyer said Wednesday that he would not be attending court.

According to the public prosecutor's office, he has "publicly expressed his intention to not appear before the court and has requested to testify by video conference without giving any information on where he is at the moment."
If the judge approves the European Arrest Warrant, Puigdemont and the ministers could be arrested at any moment and remain in detention until they can be extradited to Spain.

Sources from the Belgian prosecutor's office told Efe that if the warrant is received, they will apply the law as necessary, but that no further comments of conjectures could be made.

 

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