Spain issues international warrants for Catalan separatists

Catalonia's former president Carles Puigdemont
A Spanish judge on Friday issued international arrest warrants against Catalonia's former president Carles Puigdemont and four others involved in the region's independence movement, the Supreme court announced.
In this file photo shows Catalania's former president Carles Puigdemont signs a document about  the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona on October 10, 2017. (AFP)
Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena, who is handling the case concerning Catalonia's secession bid last October, issued the international and European arrest warrants for Puigdemont and four other former ministers who are in self-imposed exile in Belgium.
An international warrant was also issued for a sixth Catalan separatist Marta Rovira who failed to appear in court on Friday and is now in non-EU Switzerland, according to Spanish media.
Catalan separatist politician and left-republican ERC party’s Marta Rovira Marta. (AFP)
In December the same judge dropped European arrest warrants for Puigdemont and the four other deputies who fled to Belgium, saying the warrants would complicate the overall probe into the region's leaders.
Were a magistrate in another EU state to make a ruling on the secessionists -- including to drop all charges -- Madrid would be bound by that decision.
A demonstrator gestures in front of a police during a protest called by pro-independence movements at Catalonia Square in Barcelona on March 23, 2018. (AFP)
In total Llarena said Friday that 13 key Catalan separatists would be prosecuted for "rebellion" which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in jail. 

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