nsucurrent.com April 26, 2018

Police, Protesters Clash in Barcelona After Separatist Leader's Arrest

26 March 2018, 01:24 | Colleen Roy

Former Catalan leader facing arrest in Finland

Former Catalan leader facing arrest in Finland

Issuing an global arrest warrant for Puigdemont on Friday, Judge Pablo Llarena accused the ousted Catalan leader of organising an independence referendum in October a year ago despite a ban from Madrid and "grave risk of violent incidents". But the Finnish police said in a statement that they had no knowledge of his whereabouts.

The entrance of the building of the Higher Administrative Court in Schleswig, northern Germany, where the decision on a possible application for asylum concerning Catalonia's former president Carles Puigdemont will be taken. Police also used batons to keep back a crowd of a few thousand who had gathered in front of the Spanish government's representative in the city of Lleida.

However, the police in Germany did not say exactly where Puigdemont was being held.

Puigdemont "was arrested today (Sunday) at 11:19 am by Schleswig-Holstein's highway patrol force", a German police spokesman told AFP, adding that the detention was based on a European warrant.

Spanish state prosecutor said it was in contact with its German counterparts to carry out its request to extradite Puigdemont to Spain, where he faces charges including rebellion that could put him in prison for up to 30 years. But the Spanish government deemed the ballot unconstitutional and imposed direct rule. His attorney, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, said Mr Puigdemont had left Finland and was en route to Belgium "where he had meant to put himself, as always, at the disposal of the Belgian justice system".

The failure of Turull to be elected on a first vote Thursday started a two-month countdown to elect a new regional leader before a new election is automatically triggered.

Aside from the scenes in Barcelona, the arrest of the fugitive ex-leader of secession-minded Catalonia has sparked mixed reactions in Spain.

Puigdemont was on his way back to Belgium where he has been staying since fleeing Spain following a failed bid by his regional government in October to declare independence from Spain, said his lawyer, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas.

Puigdemont's party spokeswoman Anna Grabalosa said the arrest "happened as he crossed the Danish-German border". Dpa photos showed a van with tinted windows believed to be carrying Puigdemont as it arrived at the prison.

The case of Mamoun Darkazanli sparked a judicial row between the two countries after Germany's Federal Constitutional court refused to turn over Darkazanli, saying that European Union extradition laws created to speed up the delivery of suspects between member states violated the rights of German citizens.

Doepper said that "we are at the very beginning of our assessment". German police say Puigdemont has been detained on a European arrest warrant.

Spain's Supreme Court ruled on Friday that 25 Catalan leaders would be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or disobeying the state.

Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra regional police officers clash with pro-independence supporters trying to reach the Spanish government office in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, March 25, 2018.

A Spanish Supreme Court judge reactivated an global warrant for Puigdemont on Friday when he was visiting Finland.

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