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Belgian court releases ex-Catalan leader Puigdemont with conditions


Belgium Brussels, November 6: After Spain issued a European Union warrant for the arrest of Catalonia's sacked leader Carles Puigdemont and four ex-ministers, a Belgian judge released the leaders with conditions, prosecutors said.

Catalonia's sacked leader Carles Puigdemont. PTI file photo

Puigdemont and four of his former ministers turned themselves into Belgian police yesterday and they were released around 15 hours later.

"The request made this afternoon by the Brussels' Prosecutor's Office for the provisional release of all persons sought has been granted by the investigative judge," said the statement by the prosecutor's office.

The five including Puigdemont are all forbidden to leave Belgium without the judge's permission, must give the address of where they are staying, and obey all court and police summons, the statement said. "The decision of the judge cannot be appealed," it said.

The five Catalans will appear before a Belgian court within the next 15 days, the statement added. A white van believed to be carrying Puigdemont left the Brussels prosecutor's office shortly before midnight today, AFP reporters saw.

Puigdemont and some of his ministers fled to Belgium last Monday after Spain dismissed the Catalan executive and imposed direct rule on the semi-autonomous region following the declaration of independence by the parliament there last month.

After they failed to appear in court to face accusations of rebellion and sedition for calling an independence referendum, Spain had issued a warrant for their arrest on Friday.


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