6 November 2017
…Deposed Catalan Leader Surrenders to Spanish Police
By Justice Nwafor
Respite has come the way of the fugitive former president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, as a Belgian judge has released him conditionally, Sunday evening, The Telegraph reports.
He, and four of his former cabinet ministers were released while the decision whether to extradite them back to Spain awaited.
Mr. Puigdemont and other four former Catalan officials handed themselves over to Belgian police on Sunday morning before a European arrest warrant invoked by a Spanish judge triggered their capture and detention.
The five fugitive politicians gave testimony before an investigating judge in Brussels on Sunday evening.
The judge decided that they could be released on condition of remaining in Belgium and at the disposition of the judiciary while their case is resolved.
The former Catalan leader, removed from office by the Spanish government, has said he will fight extradition to Spain, where he faces a possible criminal trial and imprisonment of up to 30 years.
The Brussels prosecutor’s office had announced on Sunday that Mr. Puigdemont had turned himself into Belgian police along with four ex-ministers from his ousted Catalan administration who travelled to Belgium last week with their leader to avoid a Spanish court summons.
Recall that the Catalan administration last month held a referendum deemed unlawful by Madrid and declared the region independent of Spain.
The Madrid High Court judge investigating all 14 members of the deposed Catalan administration remanded eight former ministers in custody without bail and issued European arrest warrants for the five fugitives in Brussels, who are accused of rebellion and sedition among other offences.