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Carles Puigdemont, Catalan Ex-Leader, Is Detained by German Police

Carles Puigdemont, Catalan Ex-Leader, Is Detained by German Police

Former Catalan secessionist leader Carles Puigdemont was detained on Sunday in Germany by police acting on an global arrest warrant issued by Spain, his lawyer said.

On Saturday, Finland's National Bureau of Investigation said it had received the warrant for Mr. Puigdemont's detention issued by Spain.

"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).

Spain's supreme court has said that 25 Catalan leaders who have pushed for independence should be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or disobeying the state. On Friday, Spain issued multiple worldwide arrest warrants for five other separatists, including four former ministers who are in Belgium.

Judges "will establish on the basis of documents provided by the Kingdom of Spain. if Mr Puigdemont's transfer to the Spanish authorities is legally founded", the court said.

Pro-independence groups called on Sunday for a protest in Barcelona in support of Puigdemont outside the offices of the delegation of the European Commission and the German consulate.

Spanish authorities have opened a criminal case against 30 Catalan politicians and officials, arresting four of them, while Puigdemont, as well as several advisers of the dissolved Catalan government, fled Spain before the trial. He also confirmed that Puigdemont had been on his way back to Belgium where he lives in exile since fleeing Spain.

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He was visiting Finland last week when the arrest warrant against him was reissued.

Catalonia's deposed leader Carles Puigdemont.

A Spanish police official told The Associated Press under customary condition of anonymity that Spain's National Center for Intelligence and police agents from its worldwide co-operation division helped German police to locate Puigdemont. Meanwhile, Puigdemont left Finland for Belgium by vehicle, before being arrested this morning.

The detention 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.

"The president was going to Belgium to put himself, as always, at the disposal of Belgian justice", Pique said. Mr Turull was among five people taken into custody in fresh arrests.

Thousands of Catalan separatists hit the streets of Barcelona on Sunday, vowing the arrest of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont in Germany would not stop their push for independence. Their detention sparked protests across Catalonia. He faces up to 25 years in prison for organising the illegal referendum on secession last year.

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