Judge keeps Catalan ex-vice president, three other leaders in jail


Meanwhile, Catalan ex-president Carles Puigdemont and four of his separatist allies heard that they will be judged on whether they can be extradited from Belgium to Spain on December 14, exactly one week before the election.

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont attends the launch of a campaign for political platform "Junts per Catalunya" ahead of the December 21, 2017 Catalan regional election, in Oostkamp, Belgium, November 25, 2017.

Puigdemont is now in Belgium, where - according to his attorney - he will remain until after Spain's December 21 polls.

The charges levied on the former Catalonian officials, in Madrid, are the misuse of public funds, sedition and rebellion - the latter carries a maximum 30-year jail sentence.

"I am convinced that no matter what happens they will have recourse to an appeal", he said.

However the ERC - the party of his former vice-president Oriol Junqueras, who stayed in Spain and was remanded in custody by a judge investigating him and other former regional ministers on the same charges as Puigdemont - rejected a joint ticket.

Puigdemont's lawyer said at the weekend that he would remain in Belgium until after the elections.

Meanwhile a Spanish Supreme Court judge is set to decide whether or not to free 10 other separatist leaders who were jailed pending a probe into their role in the Catalan independence drive.

With regards to the planned audience with the Belgian justice department on Monday, when Spain will request the extradition of Mr Puigdemont, "we don't know how long it will last, or if the people being charged will be asked to testify", he said.

They all fled to Belgium in October, ignoring a summons to appear in court in Spain, claiming they would not get a fair trial.