Ousted Catalan leader freed on bail in Belgium

AFP - [email protected]
Ousted Catalan leader freed on bail in Belgium
A man believed to be Carles Puigdemont gestures inside the public prosecutor's office in Brussels. Photo: AFP

A Belgian judge released Catalonia's sacked leader Carles Puigdemont and four ex-ministers with conditions on Sunday after Spain issued an EU warrant for their arrest, prosecutors said.


Puigdemont and four of his former ministers turned themselves in to Belgian police on Sunday morning and they were released around 15 hours later.   

READ MORE: Puigdemont turns himself in to Belgian police

"The request made this afternoon by the Brussels' Prosecutor's Office for the provisional release of all persons sought has been granted by the investigative judge," said the statement by the prosecutor's office.

The five including Puigdemont are all forbidden to leave Belgium without the judge's permission, must give the address of where they are staying, and obey all court and police summons, the statement said.

"The decision of the judge cannot be appealed," it said.   

The five Catalans will appear before a Belgian court within the next 15 days, the statement added.

ANALYSIS: How ousted Catalan leader became Spain's most wanted

Puigdemont arrives to address media representatives at The Press Club in Brussels on October 31st. Photo: AFP

A white van believed to be carrying Puigdemont left the Brussels prosecutor's office shortly before midnight on Sunday, AFP reporters saw.    

Puigdemont and some of his ministers fled to Belgium last Monday after Spain dismissed the Catalan executive and imposed direct rule on the semi-autonomous region following the declaration of independence by the parliament there last month.

Spain issued a warrant for their arrest on Friday after they failed to appear in court to face accusations of rebellion and sedition for calling an independence referendum.


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