Officials in Spain are eager to have former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and his former ministers extradited to Madrid for prosecution.
Puigdemont is currently in Belgium, where – according to his attorney – he will remain until after Spain's Dec. 21 polls.
“Whatever happens, they will be in Brussels until the 21st of December, and I believe it will be until mid-January in theory," Jaume Alonso Cuevillas told Catalonia Rac1 radio station.
“I’m convinced that whatever happens there will be appeals to stop Belgium sending them to Spain," he explained.
But, the former leader is scheduled to face off with Spain during an extradition hearing, following which the court is expected to return a ruling within eight to 10 days, according to the Brussels prosecutor's office.
The charges levied on the former Catalan officials, in Madrid, are the misuse of public funds, sedition and rebellion – the latter carries a maximum 30-year jail sentence. Last month, Spanish prosecutors requested approval for a European arrest warrant issued by Madrid.
The ex-president and his former ministers say the charges are politically motivated.
Puigdemont, who remains the candidate for the regional elections, believes he will be reinstated as the “legitimate President” if he wins.
The commencement of election campaigning for the Dec. 21 Spanish polls will coincide with the hearing.
The former Catalan leader and four of his former ministers fled to Belgium in October, claiming they would not get a fair trial in Spain.
Additionally, the Spanish Supreme Court is set to decide the fate of 10 other leaders who were jailed pending a probe into their role in the Catalan independence drive.