Spanish court postpones questioning of six Catalan legislators

Carles Puigdemont

The prosecutor has asked the National Court judge to issue an global arrest warrant against them.

Puigdemont said on Tuesday he would go back to Spain only if given unspecified guarantees by the Spanish government.

Puigdemont's lawyer said Thursday that any asylum request is now off the table, and Chome agreed that it would be hard for the ousted Catalan leader's representatives to establish that his rights would be violated if he went back to Spain. "A president has to fulfil the law and if he doesn't, it is better that he stays calm, because if he starts doing something outside the law, he is going to lose everything".

The ministers attempted to hold an independence referendum last month, however those trying to vote clashed with police as the government deemed it illegal.

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But if those Catalan politicians appearing in court are denied bail it will cause further anger among those who want Catalonia to break away, our correspondent adds.

On Monday, Spain's chief prosecutor said the Catalan leaders were accused of rebellion - which carries a maximum 30-year jail term - as well as sedition and misuse of funds.

Forcadell is one of 20 former Catalan lawmakers that have been summoned by two courts following the regional parliament's declaration of independence October 27. With Puigdemont and four others in Belgium, only 15 turned up.

Eight of the nine were jailed without possibility of bail while they are investigated on possible charges of sedition, rebellion and embezzlement following the regional parliament's declaration of secession from Spain last week.

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A lawyer for several of the jailed Catalan leaders said they would appeal against the judge's decision.

Five other senior members of the Catalan parliament, as well as Speaker Carme Forcadell, are facing the same charges but, because of their parliamentary immunity, their cases are being handled by the Supreme Court which has yet to hold a hearing.

The courts have already told the Catalan secessionist leaders to deposit 6.2 million euros ($7.2 million) by Friday to cover potential liabilities.

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