Eight sacked Catalan ministers have been remanded in custody by a Spanish high court judge over the region’s push for independence.
Prosecutors had asked the judge to detain eight of the nine former government members who turned up for questioning in Madrid.
They are accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.
The state prosecutor has requested a European arrest warrant for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.
The request also covers four other dismissed Catalan ministers who did not show up in court in Madrid as requested.
Five other senior members of the Catalan parliament, as well as Speaker Carme Forcadell, are facing the same charges but, because of their parliamentary immunity, their cases are being handled by the Supreme Court. Their hearings have been postponed until 9 November.
Spain has been gripped by a constitutional crisis since a referendum on independence from Spain was held in Catalonia on 1 October in defiance of a constitutional court ruling that had declared it illegal.
Last week, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy imposed direct rule on Catalonia, dissolving the regional parliament and calling local elections for 21 December.
This came after Catalan lawmakers voted to declare the independence of the affluent north-eastern region. The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part in the referendum, 90% were in favour of independence.
Those detained include Deputy Vice President Oriol Junqueras, Interior Minister Joaquim Forn, Foreign Affairs Minister Raül Romeva, and Justice Minister Carles Mundó.
Former Business Minister Santi Vila was granted bail at the request of prosecutors. He resigned before the Catalan parliament voted for independence on Friday.
Five other senior members of the Catalan parliament, as well as Speaker Carme Forcadell, are facing the same charges but, because of their parliamentary immunity, their cases are being handled by the Supreme Court.
Their hearings have been postponed until 9 November.
Mr Puigdemont is currently thought to be in Belgium, and has said he will not return to Spain unless he and four of his fellow sacked colleagues received guarantees of a fair trial. He did not specify the exact demands.
Belgium’s federal prosecutor has said the law will be applied once an arrest warrant is received, according to Efe news agency.
Mr Puigdemont’s lawyer said the climate was “not good” for him to appear in court, but he also said his client would co-operate with the authorities in Spain and Belgium.
The deposed leader was photographed in a cafe in Brussels on Thursday while other Catalan government members appeared in court.
In addition to Mr Puigdemont, prosecutors have asked Spain’s high court judge to issue European arrest warrants for the following Catalan officials:
Mr Puigdemont’s handling of the crisis has drawn criticism among some other Catalan politicians, with left-wing parliamentary deputy Joan Josep Nuet criticising him for creating “yet more bewilderment”.
Spain’s central bank warned on Thursday of the “significant risks and economic costs” resulting from the crisis, and that Catalonia’s economy could fall into recession.
Early numbers suggest that the vital tourism sector of the region has already been affected by the ongoing uncertainty.
Original post: BBC News – Worldhappy wheels