Judge Orders Release of 6 Catalan Politicians

Judge Orders Release of 6 Catalan Politicians

The decision on whether to extradite him for trial in Madrid will be made by a judge in Brussels on 14 December.

The lawyers of Puigdemont and the four former Catalan ministers argued that the facts are not punishable in Belgium and that in case of extradition to Spain there is a risk of infringement of their clients' fundamental rights.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative Spanish government disbanded Puigdemont's Cabinet when it took control of Catalonia shortly after separatist regional lawmakers passed a declaration of independence in late October.

A Spanish judge on Monday ordered that four prominent members of the Catalan independence movement should remain in custody, including the No. 2 of the ousted regional government, who will campaign in a polarized regional election from a jail near Madrid.

Spain issued a European Arrest Warrant for them on charges of rebellion and sedition.

The poll was carried out across Catalonia last month, after the regional parliament declared independence.

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It had been expected that all 10 Catalan separatists could be allowed to leave prison after accepting the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which temporarily suspends Catalan autonomy until the new regional elections scheduled for December 21. "We will turn sadness into energy and we won't stop until you are free".

Judge Llarena set bail at 100,000 euros (£88,225) for the six other Catalan politicians who were jailed in November on preliminary charges of rebellion and other offences.

Pro-independence parties won 47.8% of the vote in 2015 but this time they are polling at around 45% and their support could be split, with Mr Puigdemont and Mr Junqueras running on separate tickets.

Campaigning for the election, with Junqueras at the head of the list for his ERC party, begins on Tuesday.

The eight ex-politicians were remanded in custody last month.

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