Catalonia's former regional president Carles Puigdemont, center, holds a banner with others during a protest in front of the…
Catalonia's former regional president Carles Puigdemont, center, holds a banner with others during a protest in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Oct. 15, 2019.

BRUSSELS - Fugitive former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has turned himself in to Belgian justice authorities after Spain issued a new warrant for his arrest following the sentencing of 12 of his former colleagues.

Puigdemont's office said Friday that he, “in the company of his lawyers, voluntarily appeared before Belgian authorities” in relation to the arrest warrant.

It said that Puigdemont rejects the warrant and opposes any attempt to send him back to Spain.

It was not immediately clear whether he is still being questioned or held.

Puigdemont and a number of his associates fled to Belgium in October 2017 after they were summoned to court over the secessionist push he led and the holding of an independence referendum that the Spanish government said was illegal.