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Former ministers remanded in custody as prosecutors seek European arrest warrant for regions ousted president
A judge in Madrid has ordered eight members of the deposed Catalan government to be remanded in custody pending possible charges over last weeks declaration of independence.
Carmen Lamela, sitting in Spains national court, jailed the eight former ministers including Oriol Junqueras, deputy to the deposed president, Carles Puigdemont on Thursday while they are investigated on possible charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds.
Lamela ruled that a ninth, who resigned the day before the Catalan parliament voted to declare independence last Friday, could remain at liberty on bail of 50,000 (44,600).
Lawyers for those under investigation said their clients would appeal against the judges decision, which they described as unjustified, disproportionate and predetermined.
Puigdemont, who travelled to Brussels shortly before Spains attorney general announced his intention to pursue the charges, had been summoned to attend the national court to give evidence on Thursday and Friday.
In a written request to Lamela, prosecutors said that Puigdemont and four other members of his administration were aware that they had been ordered to testify, but had chosen not to attend.
Repeated attempts to deliver the summons at home and repeated phone calls have been ignored, they said. For his part, Carles Puigdemont has publicly stated his intention not to appear and has requested to make a statement via videoconference, without giving any information about his current whereabouts.
Consequently, they added, they were requesting Puigdemont be found and arrested, along with the four other regional ministers who are also in Belgium.
Late on Tuesday, Puigdemonts Belgian lawyer Paul Bekaert claimed to state broadcaster VRT that a warrant had been issued for the five Catalan politicians, but this was contradicted by a Spanish judicial source.
I have just heard from my client that the warrant has been issued for the president and four of his ministers who are in Belgium, he said.
Mr Puigdemont will stay here. He has said that he will fully cooperate with Belgian authorities during the procedure, Bekaert said.