Jailing of Catalan politicians could lead to backlash

Puigdemont has Confirmed that he Remains in Brussels in Anticipation of a Fair Trial

That same day, Spain's attorney general said Puigdemont and other senior government officials were accused of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement.

The state prosecutor in Madrid later asked the court to issue national and European arrest warrants for Puigdemont and the four other ministers.

Mr Puigdemont's lawyer in Belgium said his client would stay away from Spain while the political climate was "not good"; but he would cooperate with the courts.

It is believed the five politicians have sought refuge in Belgium, where Mr Puigdemont's lawyer said he would "take some distance".

If Mr Puigdemont fails to appear before the court, an arrest warrant could be issued that would in turn prevent him from standing in the snap regional election called by the Spanish government for 21 December.

Catalan Prime Minister Carles Puigdemont, fired by central Spanish authorities, has confirmed that along with some members of his disbanded government remain in Brussels waiting a fair trial.

In its November report, the Bank of Spain said that in the worst case scenario, the political uncertainty caused by an illegal secessionist drive could reduce Spanish economic growth by 2.5 percentage points between end-2017 and 2019.

One of them, Santi Vila, who stepped down from the Catalan cabinet before a unilateral declaration of independence last Friday and has since then been pushing for a negotiated solution with the government, was granted bail of 50,000 euros ($58,300).

The request also covers four other dismissed Catalan ministers who did not show up.

Twenty seccessionist leaders were summoned to two courts in Madrid to answer questions, but only 15 turned up.

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