Spanish judge orders custody for Catalan leaders pending trial

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After his no show in court, the president of the Spanish Supreme Court said it would be "normal" to issue a European arrest warrant.

"The decision to hold them in custody is absolutely disproportionate as we consider the charges of rebellion and sedition lack any ground, no matter how much the prosecution insists on affirming it", lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas said.

The National Court has also been questioning the ousted Catalan parliament members - with former regional government spokesman Jordi Turull and minister for territorial affairs Josep Rull appearing there on Thursday.

Mr Puigdemont's lawyer in Belgium said his client would stay away from Spain while the political climate was "not good"; but he would cooperate with the courts.

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If Mr Puigdemont fails to appear before the court, an arrest warrant could be issued that would in turn prevent him from standing in the snap regional election called by the Spanish government for 21 December. Ninety percent of voters were in favor of separating from Spain.

State Attorney General Jose Manuel Maza has filed those charges against them due to their hypothetical responsibility for the unilateral declaration of independence approved last Friday in the Catalonian Parliament.

Twenty seccessionist leaders were summoned to two courts in Madrid to answer questions, but only 15 turned up.

The judiciary and the Spanish government have insisted that the legal action taken against the leaders of the independence movement is technically sound and that the country's separation of powers is robust. It was as yet unknown why their hearings were adjourned by the court, which deals with cases involving lawmakers.