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Spanish court summons deposed Catalan leader Puigdemont to Madrid to charge him

Javier Soriano, AFP | People hold signs reading "No to the impunity of coup plotters" and "Puigdemont to prison" while waving Spanish flags during a demonstration calling for unity at Plaza de Colon in Madrid on October 28, 2017.

Spain's top criminal court said Tuesday that it had summoned Catalonia's deposed leader Carles Puigdemont and 13 other former members of his government for questioning this week ahead of being charged over the region's separatist drive.

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The fired President Carles Puigdemont and five other former members of his Cabinet are in Brussels seeking "freedom and safety", Puigdemont told reporters on Tuesday. He said he would return home if there were "guarantees" of a fair judicial process.

Spain's chief prosecutor is seeking charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement against Puigdemont, his number two Oriol Junqueras and 12 more members of the ousted Catalan government. Under Spanish law, the crimes can be punished with decades in prison.

Investigating judge Carmen Lamela said the group should appear in the National Court in Madrid on Thursday at 9am for interrogations that would last through Friday. They were also given three days to pay a combined deposit against potential penalties of €6.2 million, the court said in a statement.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)

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