Deposed Catalan leader 'demands' release of ministers

Protesters wave Spanish and Catalan Senyera flag while holding a sign reading

"When someone doesn't appear after being cited by a judge to testify, in Spain or any other European Union country, normally an arrest warrant is issued", Supreme Court President Carlos Lesmes said, according to Reuters.

In another day of drama as Spain grapples with its worst political crisis for decades, Judge Carmen Lamela also ordered eight ministers who did adhere with the summons to be jailed unconditionally.

Their lawyers, who plan to appeal the move, said those detained were "serene" and wanted the people of Catalonia to stay calm.

Defence lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas said the decision "lacked justification" and was "disproportionate". It was as yet unknown why their hearings were adjourned by the court, which deals with cases involving lawmakers.

The National Court has also been questioning the ousted Catalan parliament members - with former regional government spokesman Jordi Turull and minister for territorial affairs Josep Rull appearing there on Thursday.

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This means only one of the nine ministers who attended court today (November 2) has not been jailed, the BBC said.

Reports say the Catalan leaders standing trial in Madrid have been denied bail and there are growing fears that it may trigger fresh uprising among those clamouring for the Catalonia break away.

According to Spain's chief prosecutor, the Catalan leaders were accused of rebellion - which carries a maximum 30-year jail term - as well as sedition and misuse of funds.

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.

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