Friday

19th Apr 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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us