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Ousted Catalan Leader in Brussels as Spain Seek Charges

  • VOA News

Sacked Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont attends a news conference at the Press Club Brussels Europe in Brussels, Belgium, Oct. 31, 2017.

Spain's High Court Tuesday called for ousted Catalonia President Carles Puigdemont to appear in court on Thursday morning.

Spanish prosecutors announced plans to seek sedition, rebellion and embezzlement charges against Puigdemont and his colleagues, who are currently in Brussels "for safety purposes and freedom".

Puigdemont said Tuesday he would not be seeking asylum in Belgium. He and 13 members of his sacked administration were called to appear in court at 9 a.m. on Thursday.

Chief prosecutor Jose Manuel Maza said Monday he would seek to charge the leaders of Catalonia who led a push to secede from Spain. It is up to a court to decide whether to move forward with the charges, which could bring lengthy jail terms, including up to 30 years for rebellion.

A disputed Catalonian referendum on October 1 ended with a vote for the autonomous region to break away from Spain.

The government in Madrid rejected the secession push, and after Catalan lawmakers declared independence last week the central government asserted control over the region and dissolved the local parliament.

New elections are set for December, and Catalonia's separatist party announced it would field candidates.

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