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Former Catalan leader Puigdemont detained in Germany

Former Catalan leader Puigdemont detained in Germany

German police have detained the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont as he crossed from Denmark into Germany.

German police stopped Puigdemont after he crossed the border by auto from Denmark on his way back to Belgium from Finland, his lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas tweeted.

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. State prosecutors in the northern town of Schleswig are now in charge, but they couldn't be immediately reached for further details.

Mr Puigdemont will appear before a German judge on Monday.

Dpa photos showed a van with tinted windows believe to be carrying Puigdemont as it arrived at the prison Sunday afternoon.

A Spanish police official told The Associated Press on customary condition of anonymity that Spain's National Center for Intelligence and police agents from its global cooperation division helped German police in the capture of Carles Puigdemont.

The lawyer, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, did not say exactly where Puigdemont was in custody in Germany.

"All the negative inputs that we have received help us to unite the society even more", Coca said. The judge ordered global warrants for the six Catalan officials who are fugitives, including Puigdemont.

The ex-leader's supporters have gathered in Barcelona to protest his arrest. The plebiscite was not, however, recognized by Madrid, which subsequently imposed direct rule over the autonomous region and dismissed its government.

Pro-Catalan independence parties won a majority of seats in recent elections but the main separatist leaders and candidates for the presidency are either in prison or self-imposed exile overseas. He withstood intense political pressure from Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Spain's courts as he piloted the secession bid.

Issuing the warrant for Puigdemont on Friday, Judge Pablo Llarena accused the ousted Catalan leader of organising an independence referendum in October previous year despite a ban from Madrid.

The regional government claimed that 90% of those who voted (estimated at 43% of the population) were in favour of independence - but Spain's constitutional court later ruled the vote illegal.

Puigdemont was stopped near the Danish border with Germany, a spokesperson of his party said on Sunday.

Puigdemont's arrest came just two days after Spain's supreme court it would prosecute for "rebellion" 13 Catalan separatists, including Puigdemont and his nominated successor Jordi Turull, over their role in the region's failed breakaway bid.

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