Europe - 03:00, 19 November 2017 Sunday
Decision deferred on Catalan politicians' extradition

Belgian judge defers decision to Dec. 4, process to extradite former separatist politicians to Spain could take three months

Decision deferred on Catalan politicians' extradition

World Bulletin / News Desk

A Belgian judge processing the European arrest warrant issued against five former Catalan politicians on Friday decided to defer a decision on their extradition until Dec. 4.

Carles Puigdemont, the former president of Catalonia, and four other separatist politicians appeared in a Brussels court on Friday for the initial hearing on the case. The hearing lasted around one hour and afterwards, Puigdemont's lawyer Paul Bekaert told media that no decision had been made but the case would continue.

In Spain, the politicians face charges of rebellion, sedition and misappropriation of funds related to the declaration of independence in the Catalan Parliament on Oct. 27.

Just days after the independence declaration, Puigdemont and four other politicians fled to Brussels. The rest of the members of Catalonia’s regional cabinet, which has been dissolved, are in pre-trial detention in Madrid.

If the Belgian judge does decide to extradite the separatist leaders back to Spain, they still have options to appeal. According to Belgian’s justice minister, the process could last up to three months.

However, Puigdemont and the other separatists are determined to continue the fight for Catalan independence, even if that means from behind bars or in Belgium.

Snap elections will be held Dec. 21 in Catalonia. Puigdemont and the former vice-president, who is currently in a Madrid jail, are likely candidates.