Puigdemont among 13 Catalan leaders charged with rebellion

Jordi Turull could be disqualified from holding office over Catalonia's independence drive

Spain's Supreme Court says worldwide arrest warrants have been issued for six fugitive Catalan politicians, including ousted regional chief Carles Puigdemont, who were indicted for rebellion on Friday.

One person who did not appear at the court hearing was Marta Rovira, general secretary of the Republic Left Party. Local media reported that she had travelled to Switzerland.

In his 70-page ruling Llarena set out the reasons for the rebellion charges which imply the existence of a "violent uprising", which some jurists contest.

Under parliamentary regulations a second round parliamentary vote must now take place within two days.

Spanish courts sought Puigdemont's extradition from Brussels past year but canceled that petition amid concerns that Belgium might send him back but restrict the crimes with which he could be charged.

They include Oriol Junqueras, the former Catalan vice-president, and Jordi Sánchez, who was nominated to lead the Catalan government but dropped the bid after the Spanish authorities refused to release him to attend an investiture ceremony.

He is the third candidate to be chosen by the main pro-independence parties since December's regional election, after the judiciary blocked the first two choices for the post: former president Carles Puigdemont and former rank-and-file independence leader Jordi Sànchez.

They waved separatist flags and chanted "Freedom for the political prisoners".

Catalonia held snap elections in December called by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

But they have still not been able to form a government and face growing legal pressures.

The other politicians who entered preventive detention included ex-parliamentary speaker Carme Forcadell and three former members of the regional government.

Rajoy said Friday in Brussels that he doesn't like repeat elections, saying "people vote and politicians have a duty to resolve problems and not create others".

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Earlier this week Catalonia's fugitive ex-president said independence for the region is not the "only option" for resolving the crisis.

"I will propose to the chamber that Jordi Turull be candidate for president", Torrent told press, only hours after Turull was ordered to appear in court on Friday.

Still, Puigdemont says he fully supports her decision to do so.

The deputy leader of the leftwing separatist ERC party, whose chief is now in jail, is now in Switzerland, according to Spanish media.

A judge said the five were serious flight risks.

The separatist majority failed to elect a regional government in a Thursday vote.

Judge Pablo Llarena backed his ruling by stating that secessionists had been planning ways to split with Spain for the past six years.

The central government is now running Catalonia from Madrid.

If found guilty, they face up to 30 years in prison. Four of them are in pre-trial detention. Rovira, who has also been charged with rebellion, chose to leave the county.

The court is investigating 28 Catalan pro-independence politicians and civic leaders on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

The unity of Spain in enshrined in the country's Constitution and secession is not allowed without a reform of the top law.

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