Catalan saga takes new twist as Puigdemont turns himself in
Catalan saga takes new twist as Puigdemont turns himself in
Supporters of Catalonian independence
06 November, 2017, 01:24
Puigdemont tweeted Saturday that he and his associates are "prepared to fully cooperate with Belgian justice following the European arrest warrant issued by Spain".
The Brussels prosecutor's office confirmed that the region's former president and his sacked ministers surrendered after Spain issued a warrant for their arrest.
"We're going to study it and then give it to a judge", Eric Van der Sijpt said.
Puigdemont and 13 former ministers were ordered to appear before the Spanish high court on Thursday.
The crisis was sparked by the disputed independencereferendum on 1 October and Mr Puigdemont's subsequent declaration of independence for Catalonia. "There must be a continuity to tell the world what's going on in Spain".
"We can run a campaign anywhere because we're in a globalized world", he stated, adding that he seeks to engage in the "true justice" in Belgium and "not in the Spanish justice", while his prompt departure was needed to prepare for legal defence.
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The detention of the secessionist leaders and Puigdemont's journey to Belgium have given a new boost to the secessionist camp after cracks had appeared in its ranks.
Another six Catalan leaders are due to testify on November 9 on the same charges.
One member of the dismissed cabinet, Santi Vila, was freed after paying bail of 50,000 euros ($75,800) on Friday. But, he said, the main goals must be to recover the self-rule of the region and the release of the jailed separatists, not another immediate attempt to culminate the independence drive.
Puigdemont is now in Belgium, where he went after Madrid sacked his government.
In all, Spanish prosecutors are investigating 20 regional politicians for rebellion and other crimes that could be punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
An opinion poll published on Tuesday showed Junts Pel Si would win in December with 35.2 percent if the vote was held immediately and would likely reach a parliamentary majority if it stuck with its current pact with far-left party CUP.
Hundreds of pro-secession Catalans gathered in towns across the region on Sunday.
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