Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, four ex-ministers due in Belgian Court Nov. 17

November 6, 2017 12:15 am
Sacked Catalan leader makes a statement in this still image from video in Brussels, , November 2, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
Ousted president of , Carles Puigdemont, and four former ministers are due to appear later this month in a Belgian court, which is hearing the case for their extradition, a Spanish judicial source says.
The source told AFP on Monday that the five would appear at 2:00 pm (1300 GMT) on November 17 in a Brussels court, their first hearing since the Belgian authorities freed them on bail Sunday.    
Belgian prosecutors said on Sunday that the five had to appear in court within 15 days of their release, adding that the five were barred from leaving Belgium.
Puigdemont and his deputies surrendered to Belgian police on Sunday after the authorities said they were studying a European arrest warrant issued by Madrid against them.
A police van carrying ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont leaves the Brussels Prosecutor’s office, in Brussels, on November 5, 2017. (Photo by AP)
’s National Court is to hear the case against the five, alongside nine other ministers of Catalonia’s now-defunct government, on accusations of rebellion and misuse of public funds, among others.
Puigdemont and the four ex-ministers did not show up earlier at Spain’s high court, but the nine others turned up for questioning at the court and received jails sentences. One minister, who had played a relatively lighter role in Catalonia’s independence bid, was released a day later after paying a bail of 50,000 euros.
Puigdemont has denied seeking refuge in Belgium, demanding special legal guarantees to return home and contest fresh elections in Catalonia on December 21. Spanish authorities say he can participate in the vote but insist that his prosecution must go ahead.
Six senior members of Catalonia’s parliament have also been summoned by Madrid over their contribution to the independence drive, which culminated in a declaration of independence by Puigdemont on October 27.
The secessionist leader made the declaration based on the results of a controversial referendum on October 1, which pushed Spain towards its worst political crisis in decades.
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