Carles Puigdemont reported to the Belgian Police following the international warrant issued by the Spanish High Court for both his arrest and for the arrest of four additional Catalan officials. Despite the arrest, Puigdemont’s party declared that it would support him in the Catalan presidential election set for December 21.
Carles Puigdemont turned himself in Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
Ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont turned himself in today (Sunday) to Belgian Police, local public television reported. Puigdemont reported to the law enforcement within Belgium alongside four additional Catalan leaders after the Belgian Federal Prosecutor received the European arrest warrant yesterday issued by the Spanish High Court. Puigdemont and the four associates have been residing in Belgium after fleeing Catalonia.
“Five wanted persons in Spain reported to a police station in Brussels,” the Belgian Prosecutor’s office confirmed. “They were transferred to detention at 9:17 AM.” The prosecutor’s office also stated that the five Catalan officials will be brought before a judge this afternoon and a decision regarding their extradition will be made by tomorrow morning.
Protestors in Catalonia Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
“We’re evaluating the warrant and we’ve handed the matter over for further investigation,” Belgian Federal Prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said yesterday. “There will be an answer within the next few days.” Van der Sypt made his remarks just a few hours after the Spanish High Court issued an arrest warrant for the five leaders accused of rebellion, sedition, misuse of public funds and breach of trust after Catalan unilaterally declared independence.
During an interview with Belgium’s RTBF news outlet, Puigdemont announced that Spanish authorities have become political pawns, but he made clear that he is willing to cooperate with Belgian authorities. Puigdemont also stated that he is prepared for Catalonia’s upcoming election set for December 21 after Madrid dissolved the parliament following the Catalan referendum and his party said that it would nominate him as its candidate for the presidential election.