World News

Deposed Catalan leader ordered to appear in Spanish court

Posted November 1, 2017 5:04 a.m. EDT

— The deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and 13 of his dismissed ministers have been ordered to appear in court to face charges over an independence drive that has rocked the world of Spanish politics.

Puigdemont and his ministers have been given three days to pay 6.2 million euros ($7.2 million) in bail, or else have their personal assets seized. They must appear at the High Court in Madrid on Thursday.

Puigdemont and some of his former ministers turned up in Brussels on Monday after Spain's state prosecutor announced he would seek charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds against the depose leader and key members of his renegade administration.

The charge of rebellion carries a maximum jail term of 30 years.

Some of those ministers were seen returning to Barcelona on Wednesday, but is unclear yet whether Puigdemont will show up to court.

Puigdemont on Tuesday dismissed reports that he was in Brussels to seek political asylum, making a public statement in which he maintained his sacked government was still legitimate.

Spain was plunged into its worst political crisis in decade after Puigdemont's administration held an independence referendum on October 1. The crisis came to a head last week on Friday, when the Catalan parliament declared unilateral independence. Madrid responded by suspending the region's autonomy, sacking the government and imposing direct rule.