Spanish judge jails eight ousted Catalan ministers

03 November, 2017, 00:40 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • A Spanish government source says Puigdemont is now in Brussels

Exiled Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four others failed to appear before Spain's high court to face rebellion and sedition charges following the ripple effect caused by the referendum held on 1 October. "It is better to take some distance", Paul Bekaert told Reuters, adding that "the climate is not good".

The deposed leader was photographed in a cafe in Brussels on Thursday while other Catalan government members appeared in court.

Catalan lawmakers voted to declare the independence prompting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to impose direct rule, dissolve the regional parliament and call local elections for 21 December.

Puigdemont "will not go to Madrid" on Thursday because "he will not have a fair trial" in Spain, Bekaert pointed out in statements quoted by the Belgian TV station NOS and reproduced by media. "A government democratically elected at the ballot box is in jail". But instead, magistrate Carmen Lamela chose to jail eight of the politicians, only setting bail for Santi Vila, who had opposed last week's unilateral declaration.

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The request also covers four other dismissed Catalan ministers who did not show up.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to detain eight of the nine former government members who turned up for questioning in Madrid, accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

The Supreme Court said the hearing of the six regional parliament board members was postponed until November 9 following a request by their lawyers.

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