Speculation is swirling around whether ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont will defy a Spanish National Court order to appear for questioning Thursday as part of a rebellion probe following Catalan lawmakers' vote in favor of secession from Spain last week.

Puigdemont appeared at a news conference in Brussels Tuesday, saying he and the five ousted regional Catalan government colleagues who accompanied him there were seeking "freedom and safety" from Spanish authorities.

Two of the officials returned to Barcelona late Tuesday. But it was unclear whether Puigdemont himself would return in time to appear for questioning Thursday. A person close to the ousted government said Puigdemont remained in Brussels Tuesday night.