Ousted Catalan Leader Carles Puigdemont Has Been Released From Custody
Ousted Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four close separatist allies regained their freedom at the end of a tumultuous Sunday that started when they surrendered in Brussels to face possible extradition to Spain for allegedly plotting a rebellion.
But a Brussels investigative judge quickly ruled there was no reason to put the five politicians behind bars and released them on condition they stay in Belgium and attend their court sessions within two weeks.
Hours after the former Catalan regional president and four ex-ministers turned themselves in to Belgian authorities, Puigdemont’s party put him forward as its leader for an upcoming regional election called by the Spanish government — meaning he could end up vocally heading a campaign from Brussels while he fights a forced return to Spain.
The decision was rife with implications for Spain and political consequences for Catalonia, the restive Spanish region fighting Madrid for independence.
The five Catalan politicians who fled to Belgium after Spanish authorities removed them from office Oct. 28 were taken into custody Sunday on European arrest warrants issued after they failed to show up in Madrid last week for questioning.
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