Carles Puigdemont Detained by German Police
Former Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont has been detained by German police as he crossed the border from Denmark. The detention comes after the European arrest warrant for the ousted premier was reactivated on Friday.
According to the German federal police, Puigdemont was arrested at 11:17am at a gas station between the municipalities Schuby and Jagel, 30 kilometers south from the border of Denmark,EL Pais writes.
Puigdemont was stopped on the A7 highway by officers from the Schleswig police force and taken to a station, informed local police spokesperson Uwe Keller. The sacked premier was traveling in a Renault Space with four other passengers, whose identities have not yet been revealed. The car was heading towards Hamburg and from here the Catalan independence leader had planned to return to his residence in Waterloo in Belgium, where he has been living in self-imposed exile since late October.
Puigdemont is now under “provisional detention” at the Neumünste prison, north of Hamburg, according to German news agency DPA. Thousands of people have protested in Barcelona against his arrest.
Protesters in Barcelona carry a sign demanding "freedom for political prisoners." A.G.
Puigdemont fled to Brussels in late October to avoid facing charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds for his involvement in the unilateral declaration of Catalan independence. Under the German criminal code, a similar crime – described as the act “by force or through the threat of force (...) to undermine the continuity of the Federal Republic” or “to modify the constitutional order” – carries a punishment of between 10 years in prison and life imprisonment. “Less serious cases” can be punished with between one and 10 years in prison, according to Article 81 of the German criminal code, reports EL PAÍS journalist Fernando J. Pérez.
Spanish security forces say that Germany, along with France, Italy and Portugal, is one of the most actively cooperative partners. In 2015, Germany carried out 1,635 arrest warrants.
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