Ousted Catalan government members and lawmakers are beginning to appear before Spanish courts in Madrid to face possible charges of rebellion for having declared the region's independence.

Twenty regional politicians, including sacked regional government president Carles Puigdemont, were called to appear Thursday after the chief prosecutor demanded charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement be pressed.

Puigdemont, who is in Belgium with four of his ex-Cabinet members, said he will ignore the summons, which could trigger a warrant for his arrest and an extradition petition.

The group summoned includes his 13-member former Cabinet and six parliamentary board members.

Puigdemont's No. 2, Oriol Junqueras, was the first to arrive at the National Court.

The crimes being probed are punishable with up to 30 years in prison under Spanish law.