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Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Former Catalan leader Puigdemont detained in Germany: Lawyer

Reuters , Sunday 25 Mar 2018
Carles Puigdemont
Pro-independence Catalonia's deposed leader Carles Puigdemont lectures at the University of Helsinki, Finland March 23, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)
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Former Catalan secessionist leader Carles Puigdemont was detained on Sunday in Germany by police acting on an international arrest warrant issued by Spain, his lawyer said.

Puigdemont had entered Germany from Denmark after leaving Finland on Friday when it appeared police would arrest him there and launch an extradition process requested by Spain.

The lawyer, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, did not say exactly where Puigdemont was in custody in Germany. He said only that Puigdemont, the former Catalan regional president, had been en route to Belgium where he has been living in self-imposed exile since late last year.

Puigdemont faces up to 25 years in prison in Spain on charges of rebellion and sedition for organising an illegal referendum for Catalonia that led to a unilateral declaration of independence in October.

"The president was going to Belgium to put himself, as always, at the disposal of Belgian justice," Joan Maria Pique, Puigdemont’s spokesman, told Reuters.

On Friday Spanish Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena ruled that 25 Catalan separatist politicians would face charges of rebellion, embezzlement and disobeying the state for their roles in organising the vote on secession.

German police said on Sunday they had arrested former Catalan secessionist leader  in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein on a European arrest warrant issued by Spain.

In a statement, police said Puigdemont was detained near a section of the A7 highway which cuts through the state from the city of Flensburg near the Danish border. Police did not say exactly where Puigdemont was being held.

"Schleswig-Holstein police are at this point in time unable to provide more details," it said, other than that Puigdemont was taken into custody at 11:19 a.m. (0919 GMT).

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