Spanish Prosecutor Asks for Arrest of Ousted Catalan Leader Puigdemont

Carles Puigdemont, president of Catalonia
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont in 2016. Photo: Generalitat de Catalunya

A Spanish prosecutor on Thursday requested an international arrest warrant for deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four other officials in Brussels.

The prosecutor asked high court judge Carmen Lamela to issue a European arrest warrant for Mr. Puigdemont and members of his cabinet who were sacked last week.

The national court separately approved a request for eight former ministers of the Catalan region be held without bail. They face a possible 30 years in prison over sedition and other charges in connection with the independence referendum.

Twenty former Catalan officials are due in Spain’s national and supreme courts on Thursday and Friday to face charges of rebellion, sedition and the misuse of public funds for holding the October 1 independence referendum.

Mr. Puigdemont remained in Brussels, where he said earlier this week he would return to Spain to face the charges if certain unspecified “guarantees” were made by Spanish officials. Four other ministers remain in Brussels with Mr. Puigdemont.

The prosecutor said former economy minister Santi Vila, who resigned before the Cabinet declared independence last week, should be offered €50,000 bail.

The detained officials were Deputy Vice President Oriol Junqueras, Foreign Affairs Minister Raul Romeva, Interior Minister Joaquim Forn, Justice Minister Carles Mundo, Social Affairs Minister Dolors Bassa, Governance Minister Meritxell Borras, Territory Minister Josep Rull, and Presidency Minister Jordi Turull.

Hearings for six members of the speakers committee were delayed until November 9.

Following the referendum, the Catalan parliament decided last week to secede from Spain, prompting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to depose the entire Catalan government. The Spanish senate voted to invoke of Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, giving the central government authority to administer the region.