German court orders Catalan separatist Puigdemont held in custody


Tens of thousands of demonstrators in Barcelona, Girona and other cities in Catalonia staged demonstrations and clashed with police to protest against the arrest of Catalan separatist president Carles Puigdemont in Germany.

German police stopped Puigdemont after he crossed the border by vehicle from Denmark on his way back to Belgium from Finland, his lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas tweeted.

The detention came after the Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llanera on Friday reactivated a European detention order for Puigdemont and six other leading Catalan separatists for the charges related to the Catalan independence referendum of October 1, 2017 and the unilateral declaration of independence on October 27 past year.

Germany's criminal code - unlike Belgium's - includes an offense that appears to be comparable to rebellion, the main accusation against Puigdemont. He would then be able to fight the extradition request for freedom.

It means a decision by a regional court on whether Germany will extradite Puigdemont won't be made before Easter, according to DW.

The judge ruled he must remain in custody while Spain's extradition request is considered by the courts - a process which must be completed within 60 days.

German news agency dpa said Puigdemont was taken to a prison in the town of Neumuenster on Sunday.

Spanish authorities accuse Mr Puigdemont of rebellion and the misuse of public funds in organising an unauthorized referendum on independence for Catalonia previous year.

The Catalan parliament's subsequent declaration of independence received no global recognition and provoked a takeover of the regional government by Spanish authorities.

Puigdemont's lawyer, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, said in a post on Twitter that the exiled official, Puigdemont, had been intending to return by vehicle to Belgium, where he has resided since fleeing Spain last October.