losangelesnewstoday.com June 18, 2018

Former Catalan Leader Will Stay in German Jail

28 March 2018, 01:05 | Nina Hammond

Carles Puigdemont: What happens now

Catalonia's former president Puigdemont's extradition starts after Germany arrest

Former Catalonia President Carles Puigdemont will remain in custody in Germany while the courts decide whether to extradite him to Spain.

Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas (L) and Gonzalo Boye, lawyers of former Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont, speak to journalists as they leave the prison (Justizvollzugsanstalt - JVA) of Neumuenster, northern Germany, where Puigdemont is detained, on March 27, 2018.

A German court in Kiel decided on Monday evening that Puigdemont was a flight risk and might head back to Belgium, where he's been living for the past five months after fleeing Spain in the wake of the Catalonia independence declaration.

His arrest comes five months after he went on the run as Spanish prosecutors sought to charge him with sedition and rebellion in the wake of Catalonia's failed independence bid in October a year ago.

According to the chief public prosecution office of Schleswig-Holstein, a German state where Puigdemont was arrested when crossing the German-Danish border on Sunday, it was unlikely that a decision on his extradition could be reached before Easter.

Mr Puigdemont went into self-imposed exile in Belgium a year ago, shortly after the Catalan parliament made a symbolic declaration of independence from Spain.

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The separatist politician is in preliminary custody awaiting a northern German court's decision on an extradition request by Spain.

Protesters wave Spanish and Catalan Senyera flags during a pro-unity demonstration in Barcelona on October 29, 2017. About 90 people were slightly injured during the protests, including 22 police officers, emergency services said.

The case lands a diplomatic hot potato in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's lap less than two weeks after her new government was sworn in.

Spanish cabinet's spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said during a press conference that the United Nations will request Madrid to explain the situation with Puigdemont. Issuing the warrant for Puigdemont on Friday, Judge Pablo Llarena accused the ousted Catalan leader of organising the referendum in October a year ago despite a ban from Madrid and the risk of violence.

In a new burst of activity in the matter on Friday, Spanish officials issued fresh charges against several separatist leaders and renewed a European arrest warrant against Puigdemont, which had been withdrawn in December.

German media initially reported that Puigdemont was considering applying for political asylum in Germany, a claim denied by his attorney on Monday.

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