Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont freed by Belgian judge

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four former ministers have been freed with conditions by an investigating judge in Belgium, the BBC reports.

The judge said they could not leave the country without permission and had to give details of their accommodation.

They had handed themselves in to Belgian police following an EU arrest warrant issued by a Spanish judge.

Mr Puigdemont fled to Belgium after Madrid imposed direct rule on Catalonia following an independence declaration.

He has said he will not return to Spain unless he is guaranteed a fair trial.

The five are wanted in Spain to face charges including rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

They are now expected to appear in court in Belgium within 15 days. Belgium has a maximum of 60 days to return the five to Spain but, if they do not raise legal objections, a transfer could happen much sooner.

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