German court keeps former Catalan leader in detention

Wendy Jensen
March 28, 2018

The United Nations Human Rights Commission has registered a complaint by Catalonia's former president Carles Puigdemont, who alleges that Spain violated his political rights.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Barcelona this afternoon to protest after the former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont was detained in Germany.

A court in the German town of Neumuenster ordered Puigdemont to remain in custody pending possible extradition to Spain.

Spain has charged Puigdemont with the crime of rebellion against the state-which carries a term of up to 25 years in prison-as well as for the misappropriation of public funds.

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Puigdemont was arrested upon entry into Germany from Denmark on Sunday, and he was on his way to Brussels.

His arrest came two days after Spain's supreme court issued global arrest warrants for 13 Catalan separatists including Puigdemont and his nominated successor Jordi Turull.

According to Puigdemont's lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, he was on his way back to Belgium, where he fled after Spanish authorities moved to impose direct rule over Catalonia. A spokeswoman for the German prosecutor's office said it would "probably not come this week" ahead of the four-day Easter holiday.

He has been a fugitive since Catalonia's failed bid to become independent from Spain last October.

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Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the move and said it sent a strong message to Moscow that it can not ignore worldwide law. Ryabkov said the USA move "will be met with a tough response" but he did not elaborate.

Thousands of people, many carrying Catalan separatist flags, demonstrated in Barcelona today.

Today's arrest threatens to worsen the Catalan crisis which flared a year ago when the region made a symbolic declaration of independence, prompting Madrid to take direct rule.

At least 90 individuals have been injured, including 20 security officers who fired warning shots in an attempt to disperse the angry protesting crowds. - "Solution can be found" - The case lands a diplomatic hot potato in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's lap less than two weeks after her new government was sworn in. Spain's deputy prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria welcomed the arrest as "good news", saying: "No one can make a mockery of the courts forever".

German police said they had arrested Mr Puigdemont in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein.

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He was traveling from Denmark to Belgium, where he has been living in self-imposed exile since October past year. Elsa Artadi, a lawmaker with Puigdemont's Together for Catalonia party, said he should fight his extradition. The Spanish Supreme Court on Friday issued fresh arrest warrants against Puigdemont and some other individuals behind the independence bid.

Other reports by Info About Network

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