Belgium court rejects extradition of Catalan ex-ministers

Премьер-министр Испании согласился встретиться с новым главой Каталонии

A Belgian court has rejected a Spanish request for the extradition of three Catalan separatist leaders.

"There was no independence [in Catalonia], nor will there be", he said, adding: "I will work for to ensure that the law is upheld and that [regional governments] work not for the benefit of a few, but for all [Spanish] citizens".

The court "has ruled that the three Spanish European Arrest Warrants are irregular and therefore refused their execution", said a statement from the Dutch-speaking Brussels Court of First Instance.

Spain wants the ex-ministers - Meritxell Serret, Antoni Comin, Lluis Puig - to face charges of rebellion, misuse of public funds and disobeying the state for organising last year's referendum on Catalan independence, which Madrid deemed illegal.

In April, a German court rejected an extradition request for Catalonia's former leader Carles Puigdemont on the charge of rebellion for his role in the campaign for the region's independence. Prosecutors say that Spain can not appeal the decision. He was arrested while travelling in Germany.

Fervent Catalan secessionist Quim Torra was sworn in Thursday as the restive Spanish region's new leader, with his demands for an independent Catalonia set to prolong a standoff with Spain's national government.

Spain sacked the regional government following the declaration.

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