Exiled Catalan separatist Puigdemont released after handing himself in in Brussels
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    Exiled Catalan separatist Puigdemont released after handing himself in in Brussels

    Spain has issued three extradition warrants against former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who has been living in self-imposed exile in Belgium since 2017. Credit: © Belga

    Former Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont, wanted in Spain, was released by a Brussels court after he voluntarily appeared before it on Friday.

    The separatist leader fled to Belgium in 2017 after repeated arrests warrants were issued against him in Spain for his involvement in the 2017 Catalan independence referendum.

    A Spanish court on Monday issued a new warrant against him, in a decision which also coincided with heavy prison sentences handed to other separatist politicians, which have prompted rioting and protests in the semi-autonomous Spanish region.

    Puigdemont’s lawyer confirmed that his client had voluntarily appeared before a Brussels examining magistrate, and was released on certain conditions according to De Morgen.

    Pending a decision on whether to refer Puigdemont to the Brussels Council Chamber, which will decide whether to deliver him to Spain, the Catalan politician was ordered to remain in Belgium.

    The magistrate will establish whether the charges of sedition and misuse of public funds made against Puigdemont by Spain in the new warrant are also punishable under Belgian law, a condition for approving his extradition.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times