Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Ousted Catalan Leader Appears in German Court

Ousted Catalan Leader Appears in German Court Ousted Catalan Leader Appears in German Court
Charlie Simmons | 27 March, 2018, 18:49

Demonstrators blocked main roads in Catalonia Tuesday to protest the arrest in Germany of the region's former president Carles Puigdemont and the jailing of other separatist leaders in Spain.

His arrest comes two days after Spain's supreme court issued worldwide arrest warrants for 13 Catalan separatists, including Puigdemont and his nominated successor Jordi Turull.

Puigdemont is wanted in Spain for sedition and rebellion for organising an illegal referendum - charges which carry up to 25 years imprisonment.

On Sunday, thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets of Barcelona following reports of the detainment of the ex-leader.

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.

Some 90 people were slightly injured during the protests in Barcelona, including 22 police officers, emergency services said.

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. The German court now has 60 days to decide whether he should be extradited.

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Steffen Seibert, the official spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said it was the federal government's view that the conflict between Madrid and Barcelona has to be solved "within the framework of the Spanish legal and constitutional order" and that Berlin had already assisted the Spanish government towards this end during the past months.

Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria welcomed the arrest as "good news", saying: "No one can make a mockery of the courts forever".

In October, the Parliament of Catalonia voted to declare independence from Spain.

Debate meanwhile raged at home and across Europe over Spain's crackdown on independence leaders, which saw 13 formally charged with rebellion and other crimes last Friday.

Puigdemont had been visiting Finland since Thursday, but slipped out of the country before Finnish police could detain him.

"Spain does not guarantee a fair trial; only revenge and repression", she wrote on Twitter.

The Spanish government called new regional elections in December, in which secessionist parties won again, but have since been unable to form a new government, partly due to Spanish arrest warrants. The third candidate, Turull, was placed in custody on Friday.

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