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Wednesday September 23rd, 2020 9:13PM

The Latest: Judge jails ex-members of Catalan government

By The Associated Press
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MADRID (AP) — The Latest on the Spain-Catalonia political crisis (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

A Spanish judge has ordered nine ex-members of the government in Catalonia jailed while they are investigated on possible charges of sedition, rebellion and embezzlement.

Investigative magistrate Carmen Lamela issued the ruling on Thursday at the request of prosecutors who are pursuing a criminal case stemming from the declaration of secession the Parliament of Catalonia made Friday.

The judge set bail for one of the nine former members of the Catalan Cabinet, saying he would be freed if he pays bail of 50,000 euros.

Carles Puigdemont, the former president of Catalonia, and four other ex-Cabinet members are in Belgium and ignored court summonses to appear for questioning Thursday.

The Spanish government invoked constitutional authority last week to take over running Catalonia following the region's declaration of independence. Madrid dismissed the Catalan Cabinet, dissolved the regional parliament and called a new regional election for Dec. 21.

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2:50 p.m.

A Spanish prosecutor has asked a National Court judge to issue an international arrest warrant for Catalonia's ousted regional president and four of his ex-ministers.

The prosecutor made the petition to investigative magistrate Carmen Lamela on Thursday after ex-Catalan president Carles Puigdemont failed to appear in the Madrid court for questioning in a rebellion probe following the Catalan parliament's declaration of independence from Spain Oct. 27.

Puigdemont and several of his ministers went to Brussels after the secession declaration and said they wouldn't heed the summons.

Earlier, the judge questioned nine other Catalan ex-ministers and prosecutors asked for eight to be jailed unconditionally and one given the chance to pay bail.

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1:50 p.m.

Spain's central bank is warning of the economic costs of the Catalan political crisis, which it says could damage the country's growth.

The Bank of Spain assesses the consequences of two possible scenarios.

The first is a temporary period of uncertainty in the fourth quarter of 2017, which it predicts could shave 0.3 percentage points off forecast growth through the end of 2019.

The second scenario is a "severe and prolonged" crisis, which would bring an accumulated decrease of 2.5 percentage points in Spanish GDP between the end of 2017 and 2019. That, the bank says, could spell a recession for the Catalan economy.

The bank says in a technical report published Thursday that the forecasts are based on hypothetical simulations and should be treated with caution. Even so, it says the conclusions demonstrate the "significant risks and economic costs" resulting from Catalonia's independence bid.

The Spanish government last month maintained its forecast for growth in 2017 at 3.1 percent, but revised its estimate for 2018 from 2.6 percent to 2.3 percent because of the crisis.

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1:20 p.m.

Thousands of people are rallying outside the Catalan presidential palace in Barcelona in a show of support for ousted Catalan officials appearing in court in Madrid.

The ex-officials are being questioned as part of an investigation into possible rebellion charges for having declared the region's independence from Spain.

The crowd in Barcelona clapped, chanted slogans in favor of independence, and carried Catalan flags.

Twenty regional politicians, including fired regional government president Carles Puigdemont, have been summoned to court after the chief prosecutor demanded they be charged with rebellion, sedition and embezzlement following the Catalan parliament's declaration of secession Oct. 27.

Puigdemont and four of his former ministers didn't appear, after arriving in Belgium earlier this week.

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12:30 p.m.

Spanish prosecutors have asked the National Court to jail nine ex-members of the sacked Catalan government but have requested the possibility of bail for one of them.

The prosecutor's request came after the nine ex-ministers were quizzed at the National Court on possible charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement.

The case stems from the Catalan parliament's declaration of the region's independence from Spain on Oct. 27.

The court said the prosecutor proposed eight should be jailed immediately and that a ninth be allowed stay free if he pays bail of 50,000 euros.

The eight include former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras.

The judge has yet to decide on the request.

Sacked Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four other ex-Cabinet members are in Belgium and ignored court summonses to appear Thursday.

--A previous version of this item has been corrected to show that prosecutors are asking for jail for all nine but bail possibility for one.

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10:50 a.m.

Spain's Supreme Court has suspended until next week the questioning of six Catalan lawmakers who are under investigation for rebellion following the region's declaration of independence.

The six, including regional parliament speaker and prominent pro-independence activist Carme Forcadell, and 14 ousted Catalan government ministers, including fired Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, had been summoned by two Madrid courts Thursday and face possible charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement.

The Supreme Court said the hearing of the six regional parliament board members was postponed until Nov. 9 following a request by their lawyers.

The hearing of nine of Puigdemont's ousted Cabinet members continued at the nearby National Court.

Puigdemont and four ex-ministers are in Brussels and have ignored the summonses.

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9:40 a.m.

Ousted Catalan parliament speaker and prominent pro-independence activist Carme Forcadell has arrived at Spain's Supreme Court for questioning in a rebellion investigation.

Forcadell is one of 20 former Catalan lawmakers that have been summoned by two courts following the regional parliament's declaration of independence Oct. 27.

Forcadell is a former leader of the National Catalan Assembly, which has long been the driving civic group force behind the region's independence drive.

Five of the 20, including sacked regional President Carles Puigdemont, traveled to Brussels following the declaration and are refusing to appear. This will likely trigger warrants for their arrest and petitions for their extradition.

___

8:30 a.m.

Ousted Catalan government members and lawmakers are beginning to appear before Spanish courts in Madrid to face possible charges of rebellion for having declared the region's independence.

Twenty regional politicians, including sacked regional government president Carles Puigdemont, were called to appear Thursday after the chief prosecutor demanded charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement be pressed.

Puigdemont, who is in Belgium with four of his ex-Cabinet members, said he will ignore the summons, which could trigger a warrant for his arrest and an extradition petition.

The group summoned includes his 13-member former Cabinet and six parliamentary board members.

Puigdemont's No. 2, Oriol Junqueras, was the first to arrive at the National Court.

The crimes being probed are punishable with up to 30 years in prison under Spanish law.

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