Puigdemont to be detained in Germany pending extradition decision


Spain originally asked for Puigdemont's extradition from Belgium after he fled there in October, but later withdrew the request until Spanish Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena concluded his investigation last week.

Puigdemont was arrested in Germany on Sunday under a European arrest warrant issued by Spain after he crossed the border by auto from Denmark on his way back to Belgium from Finland.

"If the German court ruled that rebellion was not an extraditable offence, that would mean, if the German government agrees... that Puigdemont could not be accused of rebellion in Spain, only for the crimes for which he was extradited, and that would probably be for the misuse of public funds, which carried a much lower sentence range", Gazeas explained.

Carles Puigdemont was to be brought before a court in Germany on Monday for an initial hearing on whether he stays in custody, kicking off an extradition process that could take weeks.

Mr Puigdemont yesterday appeared in court in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, where he was detained by police shortly before midday Sunday and later sent to Neumünster prison.

Following the reaffirmation of the charges, protests and riots broke out in Barcelona, in which about 20 people were injured.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators in Barcelona, Girona and other cities in Catalonia staged demonstrations and clashed with police to protest against the arrest of Catalan separatist president Carles Puigdemont in Germany.

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The worldwide arrest warrant for Puigdemont was reactivated on Friday (Saturday NZT), when he was visiting Finland.

The charges of rebellion were linked to the backing of the region's bid to secede from Spain in October.

Some have asked why the Catalan leader was first arrested in Germany when he had also driven through other European Union member states, including Denmark, that could have executed the warrant.

Puigdemont's lawyer, Alfono Cuevillas, confirmed his client was "in a police station and his legal defense has already been activated", adding he was being treated "correctly at all times".

Andrej Hunko, from the opposition Left Party in Germany, called Puigdemont's arrest a "disgrace".

The crisis in the Spanish region of Catalonia intensified on Saturday as the parliament in Barcelona suspended a regional presidential election and Spanish authorities renewed requests for the arrests of exiled leaders. In the German government's Monday press conference in Berlin, an interior ministry spokesman said that it would be "very unusual" for a Spanish citizen to apply for political asylum in Germany.

In other words, it's up to the courts - a position to which the German government was hewing the day after Puigdemont's detention. Neither a German court nor the federal government could solve this problem, she said, which had to be tackled through dialogue between Madrid and Catalonia.