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German court orders Puigdemont held pending extradition

German court orders Puigdemont held pending extradition

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont was due to appear in a German court on Monday at the start of an extradition process. "This will certainly take days, if not a little longer".

Puigdemont's lawyer, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, said in a post on Twitter that the exiled official, Puigdemont, had been intending to return by vehicle to Belgium, where he has resided since fleeing Spain last October.

The worldwide arrest warrant for Puigdemont was reactivated on Friday, when he was visiting Finland.

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Spanish authorities accuse Mr Puigdemont of rebellion and the misuse of public funds in organising an unauthorized referendum on independence for Catalonia a year ago.

The Spanish government-led declaration to impose direct rule over Catalonia included the Spanish court's dissolution and dismissal of the Catalonian parliament and called for a new regional election in December.

After the European arrest warrant was issued on Friday, a wave of protests erupted in the region. No decision is likely this week, said a spokeswoman for northern German prosecutors, noting that Friday is a holiday in Germany and that much of the country is preparing for festivities related to the Christian holiday of Easter on Sunday. Spain has also issued five warrants for other separatists who fled the country.

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He has been resident in self-imposed banishment in Belgium since the independence declaration of Catalonia from Spain . That ruling reactivated Puigdemont's arrest warrant, catching him off-guard while giving a university lecture.

At least 101 people were wounded, including police officers.

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

Puigdemont's Belgian lawyer, Paul Bekaert, argued on VRT television that there was "flagrant abuse by Spain of the European arrest warrant for political objective, which is totally illegal".

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