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Germany says Puigdemont case in the hands of regional courts

27 March, 2018, 06:28 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Police vehicle believed to carry former Catalan leaders arrives at the Alcala Meco prison in Madrid Spain 23 March 2018

Spain's showdown with Catalonia's separatist leaders moved Monday to German courts as the region's former president, Carles Puigdemont, embarked on what could be a weekslong effort to avoid extradition from Germany.

Georg Guentge, state prosecutor in Schleswig Holstein, said the court in Neumuenster formally determined Puigdemont's identity and also heard arguments from his lawyer claiming legal flaws in Spain's extradition request.

Shortly after Puigdemont's arrest in Germany, Torrent denounced that "the time is serious", stressing its "clear exceptionality".

Puigdemont has been a fugitive since Catalonia's failed bid to become independent from Spain last October. Tens of thousands protested late Sunday in Barcelona and other Catalan towns, and some demonstrators clashed with riot police.

He was traveling from Denmark to Belgium, where he has been living in self-imposed exile since October past year.

A Spanish police official told the AP under customary condition of anonymity that Spain's National Center for Intelligence and police agents from its global cooperation division helped German police to make the arrest.




Catalan police say that all three arrests were from an angry crowd that tried to advance on the office of the Spanish government's representative for Catalonia in Barcelona.

Former regional leader faces up to 25 years on sedition charges in Spain.

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

Fresh regional elections will be triggered if a new leader is not elected by May 22.

The court is unlikely to make a final decision on Puigdemont's extradition before Easter, a spokeswoman for the state prosecutor said.

Elmar Brok, a German member of the European Parliament and ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Puigdemont had "clearly violated Spanish law and the Spanish constitution". But rating agency Standard & Poor's last Friday upgraded its rating for Spain, reflecting a positive outlook for the economy and limited impact from Catalonia.

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