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Ex-Catalan leader hands himself into Belgian authorities

October 18, 2019 GMT
FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 file photo, former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont arrives for a media conference in Brussels. Puigdemont's office said Friday Oct. 18, 2019, fugitive former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has handed himself in to Belgian justice authorities after Spain issued a new warrant for his arrest following the sentencing of 12 of his former colleagues. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, File)
FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 file photo, former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont arrives for a media conference in Brussels. Puigdemont's office said Friday Oct. 18, 2019, fugitive former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has handed himself in to Belgian justice authorities after Spain issued a new warrant for his arrest following the sentencing of 12 of his former colleagues. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, File)

BRUSSELS (AP) — Fugitive former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has handed himself in to Belgian justice authorities after Spain issued a new warrant for his arrest following the sentencing of 12 of his former colleagues.

Puigdemont’s office said Friday that he, “in the company of his lawyers, voluntarily appeared before Belgian authorities” in relation to the arrest warrant.

It said that Puigdemont rejects the warrant and opposes any attempt to send him back to Spain.

It was not immediately clear whether he is still being questioned or held.

Puigdemont and a number of his associates fled to Belgium in October 2017 after they were summoned to court over the secessionist push he led and the holding of an independence referendum that the Spanish government said was illegal.

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