Who Is Carles Puigdemont? Catalan Leader Turns Himself Into Belgian Police

Former Catalan leader faces EU arrest warrant

Spain issue arrest warrant for sacked Catalan leader Charles Puigdemont

A Spanish judge is planning to issue an arrest warrant for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemonton Friday, judicial sources have told several media outlets.

Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has maintained that the recent independence referendum was illegal. Dejemeppe said that the entire process from arrest to extradition, could take more than 60 days. "For Catalonia, for the release of political prisoners and for the republic", he said on Twitter.

Dejemeppe said the extradition process could take more than 60 days, well past the December 21 date set for the regional election in Catalonia.

Puigdemont and four of his allies flew to Belgium after the Spanish government sacked the Catalan leaders and called for an election. The judge filed the request with the Belgian prosecutor to detain the five former Catalan officials, and issued separate worldwide search and arrest warrants to alert Europol in case they attempt to flee Belgium.

A European Union arrest warrant was also issued for four other Catalan ministers who failed to show up and are also thought to be in Belgium, a court statement said.

Spanish government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo has said that any politician can stand in the election unless he or she has been convicted of a crime. A ninth spent a night in jail and was freed after posting bail.

The move has seen Madrid take control of Catalonia's civil service, police force and finances and call the snap election, which could see as many as 150 of the region's top officials replaced.

DW reporter Charlotte Chelsom-Pill, who was at the scene, said demonstrators chanted "We are not afraid" as they waited for the return of the six Catalan officials who appeared in the Supreme Court.

Spain's Constitution says the nation is "indivisible" and that all matters of national sovereignty pertain to the country's parliament.

Protesters with Catalan flags gathered in Barcelona and other Catalan towns to show their support for the jailed pro-independence politicians.

Nine other deposed Catalan Cabinet members heeded a Spanish judge's summons for questioning in Madrid on Thursday.

Puigdemont married a fellow journalist, Marcela Topor, in 2000 and together they have two daughters.

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