Former Catalan Leader Will Stay in German Jail

Former Catalan Leader Will Stay in German Jail”

A German court has kept former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont in custody pending possible extradition to Spain to face "rebellion" charges, as fresh demonstrations blocked several main roads in the Spanish region on Tuesday.

Puigdemont is in custody in northern Germany awaiting a court's decision on whether to proceed with an extradition request by Spain.

"He has said we will never surrender and that is his message to the Catalan people and also that they have the right to express their willingness for independence and a republic in Catalonia", attorney Gonzalo Boye said after visiting Puigdemont in jail following his arrest Sunday on a European warrant.

The separatist leader has been detained since Sunday morning by German police acting on a European arrest warrant issued by Spain.

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A spokeswoman for the German prosecutor's office told AFP it would "probably not come this week" ahead of the 4-day Easter holiday.

Mr Puigdemont went into self-imposed exile in Belgium a year ago, shortly after the Catalan parliament made a symbolic declaration of independence from Spain.

Today's arrest threatens to worsen the Catalan crisis which flared past year when the region made a symbolic declaration of independence, prompting Madrid to take direct rule.

About 90 people were slightly injured during the protests in Barcelona, including 22 police officers, emergency services said.

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Her spokesman insisted on Monday that the decision on Puigdemont's extradition rested exclusively in the hands of the German regional justice authorities. Spain's deputy prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria welcomed the arrest as "good news", saying: "No one can make a mockery of the courts forever".

The 55-year-old Puigdemont who is being held at the prison in Neumuenster, lived in exile in Brussels after fleeing Spain five months ago and thus had a "significant incentive" to return to Belgium, a court statement read. He and 12 other separatist leaders were officially charged with rebellion. That vote had been swiftly followed by the Catalan parliament's declaration of independence on October 27.

It is not clear if Mr Puigdemont will be extradited from Germany.

In a move celebrated by his supporters, the United Nations Human Rights Committee announced that it has registered a complaint by Puigdemont alleging that Spain has violated his political rights. Since then, new elections in Catalonia have yielded another government backing separatism, though it has not been able to name a president since so many leaders of the separatist cause, like Puigdemont, face trial.

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