İrem UZUN-TDO- Carles Puigdemont, the former Catalan president sought by Spanish courts over his role in the region’s failed independence bid, has been released on bail after testifying before judicial authorities in Belgium in response to the reactivation of an international arrest warrant against him this week.
News of his court appearance came as Catalonia prepared for a general strike and a huge demonstration in Barcelona after a fourth night of violent protests triggered by the jailing of nine pro-independence leaders by the Spanish supreme court on Monday. The former Catalan leader fled to Brussels in 2017 when Madrid forced his resignation from office. He's successfully fought off two other extradition requests from both Belgium and Germany where local judges rejected Spain's argument that he had led a rebellion.
In a statement, Puigdemont’s office reported that “[Carles] Puigdemont, accompanied by his lawyers, has appeared voluntarily before the Belgian authorities in response to the European arrest warrant issued by the Spanish supreme court”. Upon his release, Puigdemont said "The judge who took my statement has decided to release me without bail with the possibility of leaving the country under his permission, legalizing my residence and being available if summoned by the judicial authorities and obviously enjoying my rights”.