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Brussels prosecutor requests execution of EU arrest warrant against former Catalan leader

Staff Writer | November 18, 2017
The Brussels Public Prosecutor's Office has requested the execution of the European arrest warrants issued by Spain against former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and his four former ministers.
Carles Puigdemont
Europe   Carles Puigdemont and his four former ministers
This is according to the lawyers of the five Spanish at the end of the hearing on Friday at the Brussels Palace of Justice.

The former separatist leader arrived Friday afternoon at the Brussels Courthouse, where a judge is charged of examining the arrest warrant, which was issued by the Spanish authorities over his actions in organizing an independence referendum of Catalonia.

However, Puigdemont's lawyer Paul Bekaert said no decision had been taken during Friday's short hearing and that the case would resume on the Dec. 4.

The five warrants were issued on Nov. 3 on the grounds of "rebellion, sedition, embezzlement of public funds and disobedience to authority", which are liable to up to 30 years imprisonment in Spain.

The hearing, which was held behind closed doors, will give a final decision within "eight to 10 days," according to the defense.

The prosecution, as well as those being prosecuted, have the right to appeal the final decision, after which a further 15 days will be granted to make a new decision.

Other legal measures are also applicable according to Belgian law, including decisions being taken at second instance within 30 days, as well as an appeal in cassation, whereby a decision must be made within a further 15 days.

All the five presented themselves to the Federal Judicial Police in Brussels on Nov. 5 and were deprived of their liberty.

The investigating judge had decided to place them under house arrest, but to release them under certain conditions, including that they can not leave Belgium without agreement from the judge.

They are also required to reside at a fixed address and present themselves personally to all the acts of procedure and the convocations of the judicial and police authorities.