Spain’s High Court on Thursday jailed eight former Catalan government officials without bail on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds pending investigation into the region’s independence vote. Former Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont, along with four of his former Cabinet officials, did not attend the summons, having earlier in the week fled to Belgium.
“To jail without Puigdemont,” led El Mundo, with a picture of the former officials who attended the hearing in Madrid. ABC carried a picture of former Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras, one of those jailed, alongside a snap of Puigdemont in a Brussels cafe, with the caption: “Cafe in Brussels, prison in Madrid,” adding: “Puigdemont abandons his own.” Pro-independence paper El Punt Avui led with “Free political prisoners,” with the names of the former Cabinet officials and two pro-independence activists, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, who have been in prison for several weeks. Ara, another pro-independence paper, referring to the Spanish government, asked: “What do these people want?”
“Puigdemont’s fate in Belgium’s hands,” said Le Soir, reporting that a judge will issue an arrest warrant for Puigdemont and his colleagues Friday. De Morgen led with an opinion piece with a similar headline: “Belgium decides on Catalan leader Puigdemont’s fate.” De Standaard reported that Flemish leader Geert Bourgeois, who belongs to the Flemish nationalist N-VA party, was “shocked” at the Spanish ruling, but the federal government “remains quiet.”
Le Figaro led with: “The noose tightens for Catalan pro-independence activists.” Le Monde featured a report on “daily anti-Semitism” in France and an article about rape being used as a weapon of war in Libya.
La Repubblica reported on a contentious bill seeking to restrict the ability of magistrates to wiretap people under investigation. Critics say the bill limits investigators’ powers and will be used to keep politicians out of tabloids. Il Corriere della Sera featured debates on how to reform pension rules. Il Manifesto, Italy’s left wing paper, featured a front-page story on the Catalan indictments.
British newspapers focused on Tories who aren’t happy with Prime Minister Theresa May’s choice of chief whip Gavin Williamson to replace the ousted Michael Fallon as the country’s defense secretary. The Metro, quoting party insiders, noted May was “caught in web of fury at ‘Spider Man'” — referring to Williamson, who keeps a pet tarantula on his desk. The ‘i’ referred to Williamson as Fallon’s “assassin.” The Telegraph suggested Williamson could succeed May as prime minister: “May plans for succession,” the paper led. The Mail and Sun tabloids reported Fallon had to go because he made inappropriate sexual comments to Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom.
Frankfurter Allgemeine reported on U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for the death penalty for Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect charged with committing a terror attack in lower Manhattan that killed eight people earlier this week. Die Welt featured a story on claims actor Kevin Spacey sexually harassed multiple victims, with the headline in English: “American beauty, American beast.” The Suddeutsche Zeitung reported on the U.S. Republicans unveiling tax reforms.
Giulia Paravicini contributed to this report.