Puigdemont skips court appearance, but will cooperate with authorities - lawyer

Trevor Jackson
November 3, 2017

A High Court source said the arrest warrant for Puigdemont, who is in Belgium, would "most likely" be issued on Friday. When nine members of the deposed Catalan government appeared before the high court as part of its investigation into alleged sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds, the judge had the option of releasing them, pending trial.

Puigdemont's lawyer in Belgium said his client would stay away from Spain while the political climate was "not good"; but he would cooperate with the courts. In the text, the dismissed regional ministers are called "the legitimate government of Catalonia".

"The fury with which the Spanish government has attacked a lovely European nation is outrageous and is threatening us all", Mr Puigdemont said, adding that Catalonia's independence is "no longer an internal affair" of Spain.

In its November report, the Bank of Spain said that in the worst case scenario, the political uncertainty caused by an illegal secessionist drive could reduce Spanish economic growth by 2.5 percentage points between end-2017 and 2019.

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Catalan parliamentary speaker Carme Forcadell and six members of the speaker's committee are also accused of "rebellion" and will be subject to questioning by the Spanish Supreme Court.

A spokesperson for Puigdemont said he would remain in Brussels with the other four ministers.

This led to the Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy dissolving the regional parliament and calling a snap election for December.

Under Spain's legal system, investigating judges can order the detention of suspects while a comprehensive probe, sometimes taking months, determines if charges should be brought.

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