A Spanish judge has withdrawn European arrest warrants for ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and four other ex-ministers.
They fled to Belgium a month ago after declaring unilateral independence in a referendum ruled illegal by Spain.
Despite the move, the judge said they still faced possible charges for sedition and rebellion.
Rebellion is considered one of the most serious crimes in Spain, carrying a jail term of up to 30 years.
Spanish Supreme Court judge Pablo Llareno announced the warrant’s withdrawal on Tuesday morning, citing the willingness the Catalan leaders had shown to return ahead of fresh regional elections being held on 21 December.
He said the European-wide warrant would complicate the Spanish legal probe, and its removal allows Spain to gain full control over the investigation.
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