Spanish judge issues arrest warrant for sacked Catalan leader

A SPANISH judge has issued a European Arrest Warrant for deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.

Identical orders have also been released for four of his associates after the five failed to attend a high court hearing in Madrid which saw eight other ex-members of the regional government jailed and another freed on bail.

It comes after the former Catalan cabinet was sacked and charged with rebellion, sedition, and misuse of public funds by the Spanish High Court.

Puigdemont remains in Belgium after fleeing Spain earlier this week, and his lawyer has said that he will remain there unless he receives a guaranteed fair trial, but he will not seek political asylum.

The embattled politician today gave an interview on Belgian television during which he said: “I will not flee from justice. I will move towards justice, but real justice. I’ve told my lawyers to tell the Belgian system that I’m entirely available to cooperate.“It’s obvious it’s been politicised. The guarantees are not there for a fair and independent trial.”

But a Spanish government official said that the arrests were not politically motivated and that the governmemt is instead focussed on the Catalan elections which Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called for December.

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