Eight sacked Catalan ministers were on Thursday sent to custody by a Spanish High Court for their role in the region’s declaration of independence last month, BBC reported. A ninth minister was granted bail after he argued that he had resigned before the Catalan Parliament voted to secede.
The judge said they would remain in custody till an investigation and a trial is held in the matter, Reuters reported.
Sacked President Carles Puidgemont, who is still in Belgium with four other Catalan leaders, called for his former ministers – “the legitimate government of Catalonia” – to be released.
Spanish prosecutors are seeking a European arrest warrant for Puigdemont himself.
On Monday, Spain’s chief prosecutor José Manuel Maza had announced the start of legal action against the Catalan leaders including charges of rebellion, sedition and provocation. The Spanish government has also taken direct control of Catalonia, after stripping its government of autonomy following its declaration of independence from Spain.
Later, the sacked leaders were summoned for questioning by the Spanish court, but Puigdemont and some of his former ministers had by then fled to Belgium. In a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday, Puigdemont said he would respect the results of December’s snap regional elections. He also said he would return from Belgium immediately if a fair judicial process is guaranteed in Spain.