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Spanish court yet to issue arrest warrant for Catalan ex-leader

November 03, 2017, 1:40 UTC+3 MADRID

"There will be no decision on the matter today," a court official said

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MADRID, November 2. /TASS/. Spain's national judicial board, Audiencia National, is yet to decide whether to issue an international arrest warrant for deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who failed to appear for questioning on Thursday, court officials told TASS.

"So far, no such decision has been made," the officials said. "There will be no decision on the matter today."

Spain’s La Vanguardia daily earlier reported that an international arrest warrant was issued for Puigdemont and four former members of the regional government, who are currently in Belgium.

Prosecutors accuse Puigdemont and 13 former members of his government of revolt, rebellion and embezzlement. They face 30 years of imprisonment for sedition against central authorities under the Spanish law.

Nine members of the regional cabinet of ministers testified to a judge in Madrid earlier in the day, eight of them were later taken to custody, including former Catalan deputy head Oriol Junqueras. Prosecutors did not ask detention only for Santi Vila, who resigned of his own accord from the post of the Minister of Business and Knowledge before Catalonia declared its independence from Spain. He was granted bail of 50,000 euro.

On October 27, the Catalan parliament issued a resolution on declaration of an independent republic the operation of which was already suspended by the country’s Constitutional Court. Spain’s Senate satisfied Madrid’s appeal to use Article 155 of the kingdom’s constitution that has never been used before. It makes it possible to restrict Catalonia’s self-governance.

After its approval, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy declared the decision to dismiss Catalan head Carles Puigdemont and his government members from their positions. In addition, Rajoy dissolved the Catalan parliament and set an election in the autonomous community for December 21.

On October 30 it was reported that the region’s former head, along with some of his ex-aides, has left for Brussels. At the same time, Puigdemont said he was not trying to escape from justice, describing the charges laid against them as unfounded and politically motivated, and the possible punishment of 30 years in prison - as excessive.

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