Carles Puigdemont, former Catalan president, detained in Germany



Europe

Europe

Carles Puigdemont, former Catalan president, detained in Germany

Share this with Facebook

Share this with Twitter

Share this with Messenger

Share this with Messenger

Share this with Email

Share

Share this with
These are external links and will open in a new window

Email
Share this with Email

Facebook
Share this with Facebook

Messenger
Share this with Messenger

Messenger
Share this with Messenger

Twitter
Share this with Twitter

Pinterest
Share this with Pinterest

WhatsApp
Share this with WhatsApp

LinkedIn
Share this with LinkedIn

Copy this link
Read more about sharing.
These are external links and will open in a new window

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Mr Puigdemont is wanted in Spain on charges of rebellion and sedition

Catalonia’s ex-leader Carles Puigdemont has been detained by German police acting on a European arrest warrant.Mr Puigdemont, who is wanted in Spain for sedition and rebellion, was held crossing from Denmark on the way to Belgium, his lawyer said.Mr Puigdemont had been on a visit to Finland since Thursday.He has been living in self-imposed exile in Belgium since Catalonia’s parliament unilaterally declared independence from Spain in October.The charges of rebellion and sedition that Mr Puigdemont faces in Spain could result in 30 years in prison.He slipped out of Finland on Friday before authorities could arrest him.The man who wants to break up Spain
Catalan crisis in 300 words
“The president was going to Belgium to put himself, as always, at the disposal of Belgian justice,” his spokesman Joan Maria Pique said.German police said that Mr Puigdemont was detained by a highway patrol in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, which borders Denmark.Tensions in Catalonia are very high and its separatist leaders abandoned plans to name a new president following the arrest of the latest candidate, Jordi Turull, on Friday.Crowds of protesters had clashed with police in Barcelona on Friday night after Spain’s Supreme Court ruled 25 Catalan leaders should be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or disobeying the state. Mr Turull was among five people taken into custody in fresh arrests.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionPolice clashed with protesters in Barcelona on FridayThe rulings were considered the most serious challenge to date to the Catalan independence movement. Almost the entire leadership now faces a major legal fight.Following the referendum, the central government in Madrid sacked the Catalan regional government, imposed direct rule and called new elections but pro-independence parties returned with a slim majority.International warrants for Mr Puigdemont and other Catalan leaders were withdrawn in December by a Spanish judge, who said they had shown a willingness to return to the country.The warrants were reactivated on Friday, surprising Mr Puigdemont, who had been in Finland to give a university lecture.Among those wanted is Catalonia’s former education minister, Clara Ponsati. She is in Scotland, where she has a position at the University of St Andrews.Who is Carles Puigdemont? Carles Puigdemont, 55, is a former journalist who worked for pro-independence media in Catalonia and headed the Catalan News Agency. After moving to politics, he became an MP and later mayor of Girona, north-east of Barcelona. In 2016, he became leader of Catalonia and led the region to the referendum the following year. During his self-imposed exile following the resulting crisis, Mr Puigdemont told Belgian TV he was not hiding from “real justice” but from the “clearly politicised” Spanish legal system.How we got here
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWhy is there a Catalan crisis? The answer is in its past, as Europe correspondent Gavin Lee explains1 October 2017: The independence referendum takes place in Catalonia 27 October: Catalonia’s leaders declare independence, which leads to the Spanish government imposing direct rule on the region and dissolving its parliament 30 October: Charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds are brought against various sacked members of the Catalan government, including Mr Puigdemont2 November: Several former Catalan ministers are taken into custody in Spain 3 November: European Arrest Warrants are issued against Mr Puigdemont and four of his allies, who have all fled to Belgium 5 December: A Spanish judge withdraws the European arrest warrants but says the group still face possible charges for sedition and rebellion21 December: Carles Puigdemont is re-elected to parliament during Catalan’s regional elections – which Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy had called to “restore democracy”1 March 2018: Mr Puigdemont says he is stepping aside to allow detained activist Jordi Sanchez to run as Catalonia’s president 21 March: Mr Sanchez drops his leadership bid as he is unable to get released from jail, and instead the candidacy is passed to Jordi Turull23 March: Mr Turull and various others are arrested in Spain, and the European arrest warrants are reactivated

Elsewhere on the BBC