Catalonia Crisis: Prosecutors Call For Puigdemont’s Arrest
Spain’s state prosecutor has requested a European arrest warrant for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four others over their role in a disputed independence referendum.
All five failed to show up at Spain’s high court on accusations of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.
Mr Puigdemont’s lawyer said the climate was “not good” for him to appear.
Nine other sacked members of Catalonia’s regional government did turn up for questioning at the court.
Prosecutors in Madrid asked for eight of them to be held in custody following their testimony.
Spain has been gripped by a constitutional crisis since the referendum was held on 1 October in defiance of a constitutional court ruling that had declared it illegal.
Last week, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy imposed direct rule on Catalonia, dissolving the regional parliament and calling local elections for 21 December.
This came after Catalan lawmakers voted to declare the independence of the affluent north-eastern region.
The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part in the referendum, 90% were in favour of independence.
Prosecutors asked the high court judge to jail eight of the nine sacked members who turned up for questioning. They included Deputy Vice President Oriol Junqueras, Interior Minister Joaquim Forn, Foreign Affairs Minister Raül Romeva, and Justice Minister Carles Mundó.
The ninth, Catalonia’s former Business Minister Santi Vila, should be granted a €50,000 ($58,000; £44,000) bail, prosecutors said. He resigned before the Catalan parliament voted for independence on Friday.
The Catalan leaders are yet to be formally charged. They are accused of rebellion – which carries a maximum 30-year jail term – as well as sedition and misuse of funds.
A judge will decide whether the officials should go to jail, pending an investigation that could potentially lead to a trial. She can also grant them conditional bail and order them to surrender their passports.
The court summons had given the sacked leaders three days to pay a deposit of €6.2m to cover potential liabilities.