Sunday

22nd Sep 2019

Germany detains Catalan ex-leader Puigdemont

  • Puigdemont earlier this year in Denmark (Photo: EUobserver)

German police on Sunday (25 March) detained former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont on a European arrest warrant from Spain.

The ex-Catalan leader is set to appear before a German judge later on Monday. He faces decades in jail in Spain following charges of sedition and rebellion by the Madrid government.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Puigemont's arrest on Sunday sparked widespread protests back in Barcelona, his home base, where crowds gathered in support of a man who led the Catalan independence movement. Dozens have reportedly been injured.

After having followed through on an October referendum to leave Spain, which Spain declared illegal, Puigdemont fled to Belgium where he had been living in exile for the past five months.

Spain at the time had issued a warrant for his arrest but later withdrew it over fears he would claim asylum in Belgium. Belgium is also host to three other exiled Catalan leaders.

Puigdemont was in Finland at the end of last week when the same warrant for his arrest was reactivated by Spanish authorities. He was stopped on the highway in northern Germany after passing through Denmark.

His arrest on Sunday in northern Germany is likely to galvanise support and raise further tensions among separatists who again clashed with riot police in the Catalan capital during the spontaneous protests.

Germany will now have 60 days to decide to extradite Puigdemont. It means figuring out whether the Spanish charges of sedition and rebellion are also punishable under German law.

His Belgium lawyer Paul Bekaert told Reuters that it would likely take months before any final decision is made, given the lengthy legal appeals process.

Spain's supreme court had only days earlier placed Catalan separatist leader Jordi Turull in pre-trail detention, along with other leaders, without the possibility of bail.

All were charged with rebellion and face up to 30-year prison sentences. Turull was set to become regional president after pro-independence parties regained a majority in the parliament.

"No judge, no government and no civil servant has right to charge and pursue the president of all Catalans," Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent was quoted as saying in Reuters, following the arrests.

Catalonia prepares for rule by Skype

The two biggest parties in Catalonia have vowed to put Puigdemont back in office despite Madrid's threat to maintain direct rule.

Puigdemont ghost hangs over Catalan vote

The Catalan parliament is due to elect the president of the regional government, amid uncertainties over the whereabouts and strategy of the self-exiled separatist leader.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'
  2. UK secrecy on Brexit holds back wider EU talks
  3. Feminist mass protest in Spain after 19 murders this summer
  4. Global climate strike starts ahead of UN summit
  5. UK Brexit minister to meet Barnier on Friday
  6. Russia-Ukraine gas deal talks show 'progress'
  7. Nobel economist: Ireland 'not good EU citizen' on taxes
  8. Germany takes carbon border tax on board

Stalling on VAT reform costing billions, says Commission

German media outlet Correctiv, along with other newsrooms, have revealed how criminals annually cheat EU states out of billions in VAT fraud. The EU Commission says solutions exist - but member states refuse to budge on tax unanimity.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Europe goes to New York This WEEK
  2. Nine EU 'commissioners' asked to clarify declarations
  3. Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril
  4. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  5. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  6. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  7. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  8. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us