Spain issues international arrest warrants for Belgium-based Catalans
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    Spain issues international arrest warrants for Belgium-based Catalans

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    Spain’s Supreme Court on Tuesday issued international warrants for the arrest of three former members of the Catalan Government, two of them based in Belgium, in connection with the attempted secession in 2017.

    The arrest warrants came on the heels of one issued in October for former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who lives in Belgium.

    The warrants for the arrest of Toni Comin and Lluis Puig will be handed over to the “competent legal authority in Belgium,” where they fled, like Mr. Puigdemont, in 2017 to escape prosecution by the Spanish justice authorities, the Supreme Court stated in a press release. The warrant against Clara Ponsati, who is in Scotland, has been handed over to the Scottish authorities.

    Comin is accused of sedition and embezzlement of public funds, while Ponsati is wanted for sedition and Puig for disobedience and embezzlement of public funds.

    Spain’s highest court had already issued an international arrest warrant on 14 October against Puigdemont, the main architect of the independence attempt by the region in Northeast Spain.

    The announcement of the new warrants came just hours after the Supreme Court sentenced nine pro-independence leaders, including Puigdemont’s deputy Oriol Junqueras, to prison terms ranging from 9 to 13 years. The sentences rekindled the crisis in Catalonia, sparking pro-independence demonstrations, some of which degenerated into clashes with the police in Barcelona and other cities.

    Puigdemont is free under judicial supervision pending the examination of the arrest warrant by the Belgian justice authorities. His attorneys have announced their intention to contest the position of the Office of the Public Prosecutor of Brussels which, they say, is in favour of his extradition to Spain.

    Oscar Schneider

    The Brussels Times