Belgian prosecutors ask court to extradite Catalan ex-leader

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

A Belgian judge made no ruling on Friday on a European arrest warrant issued by Spain for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, his lawyer said after a court hearing in Brussels.

They had left Spain after Puigdemont's regional government was sacked by Madrid for unilaterally declaring Catalonia independent following a referendum on secession that court authorities in Madrid had ruled was illegal.

A pro unity demonstrator displays a Spanish flag to Catalan Regional Police officers during a protest after the Catalan regional parliament declared independence from Spain in Barcelona Spain
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Friday's court hearing for the five is the latest step in their flight from Spain and refusal to return from Brussels to face a rebellion investigation amid a push for Catalan independence.

Although they are not yet extraditing him, the Belgian government has required Puigdemont to stay in the country, making the logistics of his leading a campaign extremely hard. According to Belgian's justice minister, the process could last up to three months.

Puigdemont and the other former ministers who stay in Belgium have dined Thursday evening with Flemish MP Lorin Parys from the nationalist and separatist party Nieuw- Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA, New Flemish Alliance). Puigdemont and the former vice-president, who is now in a Madrid jail, are likely candidates.

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