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Ex-Catalan president turns himself in to Belgian authorities

By
Daniel Uria
Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and four other dismissed Catalan officials turned themselves in to authorities in Belgium on Sunday. Photo by Olivier Hoslet/EPA
Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and four other dismissed Catalan officials turned themselves in to authorities in Belgium on Sunday. Photo by Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont turned himself in to police in Belgium on Sunday after Spain requested his extradition.

Puigdemont gave himself over to authorities in Brussels along with four other former Catalan officials wanted in Spain on charges of rebellion, sedition and misappropriation of public funds for their failed attempt to secede from Spain.

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"This morning the five people wanted by Spain presented themselves to police in Brussels. They were put in custody at 9:17 this morning," Gilles Dejemeppe, a spokesman for Brussels prosecutors said. "The judge will hear the people this afternoon. He has until tomorrow morning to decide."

A Spanish judge issued an arrest warrant for Puigdemont and the other four officials on Friday after they fled to Belgium earlier in the week when Madrid's top prosecutor said criminal charges might follow their illegal declaration of independence.

Puigdemont previously suggested he plans to appeal his extradition, as he believes he won't receive a fair trial in Spain.

His potential appeal could last up to two months under Belgian law, possibly extending through the snap regional election called by Spain's government for Catalonia on Dec. 21.

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Puigdemont said he would campaign for the election out of Belgium if neccessary.

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