Catalan jailings are a serious mistake, says Puigdemont

Catalan jailings are a serious mistake, says Puigdemont

Catalan jailings are a serious mistake, says Puigdemont

The Prosecutor requested today the Spanish National Court (AN) to issue an European arrest warrant against the deposed President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont and four members of his government, who are in Belgium.

The prosecutor has asked the National Court judge to issue an worldwide arrest warrant against them.

"We will give it to an investigative judge maybe tomorrow or the day after", Eric Van der Sypt told Reuters.

Catalonia's ousted leader says he's ready to cooperate with Belgian authorities after Spain issued a European warrant for his arrest, though he isn't giving any clues about his whereabouts. Puigdemont spoke at a news conference in Brussels on Tuesday and appeared on Belgian state television on Friday.

Puigdemont, who is considering standing in a snap election in the region on December 21, has said he did not trust Spanish justice but would cooperate with the Belgian courts.

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Spanish government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said Friday that politicians, even those who are jailed on suspicion of a crime, can run in the upcoming election unless they are convicted before it takes place. The regional government was removed from power and an early election was called for Dec 21. On Thursday, ex-Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras and seven other former regional ministers were jailed without the opportunity to post bail. "For Catalonia, for the release of political prisoners and for the republic", he said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, a panel of National Court judges is also considering an appeal to release two separatist activists who were jailed last month in a sedition investigation.

In a speech broadcast late on Thursday by Catalan public TV3, Mr Puigdemont called on Catalans to protest against the Spanish authorities "without violence, peacefully and with respect for everybody's opinions".

The Catalan parliament was dissolved by the Spanish government last week after they officially declared independence from Spain.

The 7.5 million people of Catalonia, which until this past week had considerable autonomy, are fiercely proud of their language and culture but are also deeply divided about the push for independence.

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