Carles Puigdemont Arrested in Germany

Lucy Bush
March 26, 2018

Police intercepted Mr Puigdemont near the Danish border as the ousted politician attempted to return to Belgium, according to his lawyer, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas.

Spain had reactivated an worldwide arrest warrant for Puigdemont on Saturday NZT.

Let's take a step back.

His lawyer says Puigdemont was on his way back to Belgium where he has been staying since fleeing Spain following a failed bid by his regional government in October to declare independence from Spain.

At the same time in Girona, several dozen supporters of Catalonia's independence gathered under the representation of the Spanish government and, in protest at the arrest of Puigdemont, removed the flag of Spain and painted the walls of the building with yellow paint.

Spanish authorities have opened a criminal case against 30 Catalan politicians and officials, arresting four of them, while Puigdemont, as well as several advisers of the dissolved Catalan government, fled Spain before the trial. On Friday, Spain issued multiple global arrest warrants for five other separatists, including four former ministers who are in Belgium.

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Puigdemont's detention puts his fate in the hands of German courts, which will have to decide whether to pass him to Spanish authorities to face charges of "rebellion and misuse of public funds".

Catalonia's deposed leader Carles Puigdemont: "I will not throw in the towel".

Madrid called a snap election for December past year in hope of having a more moderate Catalan government to deal with, but its plan backfired when the region voted a majority of pro-independence MPs into parliament, maintaining the status quo.

Puidgemont could take his case to Germany's highest court, which had in 2005 blocked the extradition to Spain on an European Union arrest warrant of a German-Syrian al-Qaeda suspect.

While separatist parties won Catalonia's regional elections in December called by Madrid, they have been unable to form a government as they have picked candidates are now either in exile, in jail or facing prosecution.

The judiciary in Schleswig-Holstein is now examining whether Puigdemont will be placed in extradition. Dpa photos showed a van with tinted windows believed to be carrying Puigdemont as it arrived at the prison.

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Puigdemont "was arrested today at 11:19 am by Schleswig-Holstein's highway patrol force", a German police spokesman told AFP, adding that the detention was based on a European warrant.

German magazine Focus said Spanish intelligence informed the BKA federal police that Puigdemont was on his way from Finland to Germany.

After Puigdemont was forced to withdraw his bid for the presidency, another pro-independence leader Jordi Sanchez followed suit when a judge refused to let him out of jail to be sworn in.

Doepper said that "we are at the very beginning of our assessment". The judge ordered global warrants for the six Catalan officials who are fugitives, including Puigdemont.

Fresh regional elections will be triggered if a new leader is not elected by May 22.

"We simply had the information that he was supposed to be in Germany or had entered the country", he said. Llarena ruled that a total of 25 Catalan separatists would be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or disobedience. Three people have also been arrested.

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