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Puigdemont faces possible detention in Belgium on European Arrest Warrant

Puigdemont faces possible detention in Belgium on European Arrest Warrant
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By Robert Hackwill
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The legal ball is now in Belgium's court as it decides how to apply the European Arrest Warrant to the runaway Catalan leaders.

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The Catalan independence leader Carles Puigdemont and four former counsellors’ whereabouts is still unknown, and they are effectively fugitives from Spanish justice following Madrid’s demand for a European Arrest Warrent for the quintet.

People all over #Catalonia are gathering this morning to hang posters asking for #freedom for the political prisoners #democracyFreeJordis</a> <a href="https://t.co/R1u5JfaLkS">pic.twitter.com/R1u5JfaLkS</a></p>— Helle Kettner (HelleKettner) 5 novembre 2017

They are believed to be in Belgium, whose justice system will now be asked to enforce the warrant. A Belgian magistate, upon receiving the warrant, must summon the men, accused of rebellion, sedition, and embezzlement among other things. The magistrate then has 24 hours to decide whether or not to detain them until their extradition, or release them on conditional bail. The Belgian magistrate does have a third option, to reject Spain’s European Arrest Warrant demand altogether, as the Justice Minister Koen Geens reminded everyone on Saturday, but his would take the procedure into uncharted waters, and spark a diplomatic crisis.

? #MUSTSEE Latest #Catalonia‘s debrief by OwenJones84</a> at <a href="https://twitter.com/BBC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">BBCpic.twitter.com/hXkyjbTvpK

— IsraelCatalunya?? (@IsraelCatalunya) 5 novembre 2017

Puigdemont has tweeted in Catalan and Flemish, calling for a new Catalan coalition for snap elections, and indicating his groups willingness to co-operate with Belgian justice.

Thousands marched in Bilbao yesterday to show #Basque support for #Catalonia & political prisoners #155ariEz#Llibertatpresospoliticspic.twitter.com/9sSxraHlDe

— EUROLANG (@EUROLANG) 5 novembre 2017

A demonstration in the similarly-separatist-minded Basque Country against Madrid’s assuming direct control over Catalonia will not have gone unnoticed. The Basques fought a terror campaign for more than 50 years demanding independence, only abandoning the deadly struggle in 2011.

Norwegian TV interviews a #Catalan independence supporter and a #Spanish unionist, you’ll never guess what happened next… #Catalonia#CDDRpic.twitter.com/Gly7fAbnji

— Meritxell? (@lameritxell) 5 novembre 2017

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