Fugitive ex-Catalan president arrested by police in Germany

Former Catalan leader facing arrest in Finland

Current mayor of Gerona and candidate for the Catalan Government's presidency Carles Puigdemont speaks during an investiture debate for the Catalan Government's presidency, at the Parliament of Catalonia in Barcelona on January 10, 2016. That's according to his lawyer.

German police said they arrested Puigdemont in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein on the arrest warrant, which was issued by Spain.

Let's take a step back.

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

Spanish state prosecutor said it was in contact with its German counterparts to carry out its request to extradite Puigdemont to Spain, where he faces charges including rebellion that could put him in prison for up to 30 years.

A Spanish judge reactivated an worldwide warrant for Puigdemont and five other fugitive separatist leaders from northeastern Spain on Friday.

Puigdemont is wanted by Spain on charges of "rebellion" and "sedition". He's also charged with misuse of public funds.

Thus, the German criminal code provides for crimes that are incriminated to Puigdemont in Spain, from 10 years of imprisonment to life imprisonment.

Thousands answered the call by a pro-independence grassroots group to protest in the city centre hours after Puigdemont was detained by German police.

"We are now examining the further procedure, i.e. tomorrow we will decide whether we will file a provisional application for detention with the competent district court, which could lead to extradition detention later on", Doepper said.




While separatist parties won Catalonia's regional elections in December called by Madrid, they have been unable to form a government for the region as numerous leaders are in exile overseas or in jail.

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.

Elsa Artadi, a member of the Catalan parliament considered to be in Puigdemont's inner circle, responded to his detention by writing on Twitter: "Spain does not guarantee a fair trial, only revenge and repression". Dpa photos showed a van with tinted windows believed to be carrying Puigdemont as it arrived at the prison.

"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 11:19am (09:19 GMT).

The region has been without an official leader since Puigdemont fled to Belgium.

The failure of Turull to be elected on a first vote Thursday started a two-month countdown to elect a new regional leader before a new election is automatically triggered.

Finland's National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) confirmed Saturday that it had received a European arrest warrant for "a Spanish citizen visiting Finland", but did not know the person's whereabouts.

"We simply had the information that he was supposed to be in Germany or had entered the country", he said.

51-year-old Turull was one of five high-profile separatists jailed without bail Friday by a Spanish Supreme Court judge for their alleged roles in a failed independence bid by Catalonia from Spain in October.

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