Global News

Germany arrests fugitive ex-leader of Catalonia

Germany arrests fugitive ex-leader of Catalonia

On October 1, 2017, Catalonia held a referendum on the region's independence from Spain.

Puigdemont was in Finland Friday when he learned Finnish police could be preparing to arrest him.

The supporters of Catalonia's independence have taken to the streets of Barcelona, protesting against Puigdemont's detention.

In a statement, police said the Catalan ex-leader was arrested near a section of the A7 highway, which cuts through the state from the city of Flensburg near the Danish border.

Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has been detained in Germany, the Reuters news agency reported, citing his lawyer.

Catalonia will remain under direct rule by Madrid as long as it fails to form a new government.

If a new president is not elected by May 22, new elections will have to take place.

Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas said Catalonia's former president was on his way back to Belgium from Finland, where he had been meeting with lawmakers, when police stopped him on a European arrest warrant.

A Spanish Supreme Court judge reactivated an worldwide arrest warrant for him on Friday.

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In Barcelona, thousands of people - many carrying Catalan separatist flags - marched in protest against the arrest, chanting "Puigdemont our president" and "Freedom for the political prisoners".

Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena also sent five separatist leaders to pre-trial jail.

It said the court will check, based on extradition documents by Spain, if the handover of Mr Puigdemont to Spanish authorities is "legally permissible".

Spain says that its intelligence services and police worked with German police to orchestrate the arrest of the fugitive former leader of Catalonia's separatist movement.

Albert Rivera, the leader of the centrist party Ciudadanos which was set up in Catalonia to fight against separatism, welcomed Puigdemont's arrest.

German police confirmed that Puidgemont was arrested at 11.19 am on Sunday morning.

During his self-imposed exile following the resulting crisis, Mr Puigdemont told Belgian TV he was not hiding from "real justice" but from the "clearly politicised" Spanish legal system.

Polls show Catalans are nearly evenly divided on the issue of independence but the vast majority back holding a legal referendum to settle the question.

He gave up his quest to reclaim the presidency earlier this month. He faces up to 25 years in prison for organising the illegal referendum on secession last year.


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