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Belgian court rejects Spanish extradition bid for Catalan separatists

A Catalan and a Spanish flag flutter on top of the Palau Generalitat in Barcelona, Spain, early Monday Oct. 30, 2017. Hundreds of thousands of Catalans took to the streets of Barcelona Sunday to call for their region to remain part of Spain, two days after regional lawmakers exacerbated a political crisis by voting for the wealthy region to secede. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

A Belgian court has rejected a Spanish request for the extradition of three Catalan separatist leaders.

The court ruling was the latest in a series of legal disputes between Spain and Belgium, where former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and five others took refuge last year fearing they would face imprisonment at home.

The prosecutor's office said in a statement that the court rejected the extradition request for the three because there were no corresponding Spanish arrest orders. Prosecutors say that Spain cannot appeal the decision.

Mr Puigdemont is now in Germany fighting extradition to Spain, where he is wanted for allegedly using public funds and orchestrating an "insurrection" to get the wealthy north-eastern region around Barcelona to break away from Spain.

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