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Catalan leaders set free pending Belgian ruling on warrant
World

Catalan leaders set free pending Belgian ruling on warrant

1 06.11.2017 From our online archive
Ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four former members of his government were released in Brussels pending a court ruling on an international arrest warrant issued by Spain.

(Bloomberg) Ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four former members of his government were released in Brussels pending a court ruling on an international arrest warrant issued by Spain.

The five Catalan separatists are prevented from leaving the country without consent from the judge and will need to comply with all summons made by judicial or police authorities, the Brussels prosecutor’s office said in a statement early Monday.

Puigdemont turned himself in to Belgian police early Sunday. The "request made by the prosecutor’s office for the provisional release has been granted by the investigative judge," the statement said. "The decision of the judge cannot be appealed."

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Puigdemont will appear within 15 days before a court in Brussels, which will decide whether to execute Spain’s November 3 order to arrest and surrender him.

Including time for possible appeals, the former Catalan leader could extend his stay in Belgium to as long as three months as he tries to run a government in exile and prepares to campaign for the December 21 snap election in Catalonia, which Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called after firing Puigdemont and his government.

An opinion poll published Saturday by La Vanguardia newspaper showed the regional election was too close to call, with projections for a near even split of seats for pro-independence and non-separatist parties.