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加泰罗尼亚领导人在西班牙出庭 Catalan Leaders Appear in Spanish Court







A group of leaders from Spain's Catalonia region appeared in two Madrid courts Thursday to answer charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement connected to their push for Catalonia's independence.

Not among them was ousted leader Carles Puigdemont, who has spent this week in Brussels and did not abide by the court's order to appear. He has dismissed the charges as politically motivated and said he would only return to Spain if he receives a guarantee that the legal process will be impartial and fair.

A spokesman for Spain's ruling Popular Party, told the Associated Press Puigdemont's failure to appear in Madrid Thursday for the hearing could trigger the issuance of an arrest warrant and a petition to extradite him.

Prosecutors have filed charges against 14 Catalan leaders, including Puigdemont and his deputy.

Spain's central government moved to take control of Catalonia last week and disbanded the regional parliament in response to an October 1 independence referendum and subsequent declaration of independence by Catalan lawmakers.

Catalonia itself is divided on the secession issue. Those who participated in the referendum opted for independence, but the opposition boycotted the vote, while the Madrid government also declared it illegal.

Last week's move to strip Catalonia of its autonomy also included setting up new elections in the region for December.