Eight sacked Catalan ministers have been remanded in custody by a Spanish high court judge over the region's push for independence. Prosecutors had asked the judge to detain eight of the nine former regional government members who turned up for questioning in Madrid.
They are accused of rebellion, sedition, and misuse of public funds. Prosecutors are also seeking a European Arrest Warrant for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.
The request also covers four other dismissed Catalan ministers who did not show up in court in Madrid as requested, but have been in Belgium since Monday.
- Former Deputy Vice President Oriol Junqueras
- Former Interior Minister Joaquim Forn
- Former Foreign Affairs Minister Raül Romeva
- Former Justice Minister Carles Mundó
- Former Labour Minister Dolors Bassa
- Former Government Presidency Councillor Jordi Turull
- Former Sustainable Development Minister Josep Rull
- Former Culture Minister Meritxell Borras
In a statement broadcast on Catalan TV from an undisclosed location in Belgium, Mr. Puigdemont described the detention of the eight ex-ministers as "an act that breaks with the basic principles of democracy".
If Spain's high court judge issues a warrant, a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) will be sent to Belgian prosecutors, who have 24 hours to decide whether the paperwork is correct. If they do, they then have 15 days to arrest Mr. Puigdemont and the four others. If one or all of them appeals against it, that process could last another 15 days.
Belgium has a maximum of 60 days to return the suspects to Spain after an arrest. But if the suspects do not raise legal objections, a transfer could happen within a few days.
A country can reject an EU arrest warrant if it fears that extradition would violate the suspect's human rights. Discrimination based on politics, religion or race is grounds for refusal. So are fears that the suspect would not get a fair trial.
There is an agreed EU list of 32 offenses - in Article Two of the EAW law - for which there is no requirement for the offense to be a crime in both countries. In other words, any of those offenses can be a justification for extradition, provided the penalty is at least three years in jail.
However, neither "sedition" nor "rebellion" - two of the Spanish accusations against the Catalan leaders - are on that list.
Two Country Solution
Flash Forward November 2, 2017: Spain arrests Catalan leaders for holding a peaceful independence vote. 90% voted for independence.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock