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Fugitive ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont ‘is being held by German police’ 

The former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is understood to have been detained by German police.  

Puigdemont’s lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas has confirmed that German police stopped him on Sunday when he was crossing the border to enter Denmark. 

The exiled leader has been on the run since his failed bid by his regional government in October to declare independence from Spain.

Spanish authorities have issued an international arrest warrant for him and other Catalan separatists.  

The former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is understood to have been detained by German police

Puigdemont had flown to Finland from his hideaway in Belgium to give a talk – but left earlier than expected after a Spanish judge reactivated the European Arrest Warrant against him.

His whereabouts since late Friday had been unclear – although it was known he was trying to get back to Belgium by road to join other exiled former members of his sacked Catalan government.

This morning his lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas confirmed he had been ‘detained’ by German police after crossing from Denmark by car.

He confirmed: ‘Carles Puigdemont has been detained in Germany when he was crossing the border from Denmark, on his way back to Belgium from Denmark.’

He added in a second message: ‘He has been treated correctly at all times.

‘At the moment he is in a police station and his jurisdictional defence has now been activated.’

Puigdemont had been holed up in Belgium since fleeing Spain following the Catalan Parliament’s unilateral declaration of independence at the end of October.

The declaration led to the Spanish government imposing direct rule over Catalonia.

Several of Puigdemont’s former government ministers were subsequently remanded in jail pending an ongoing judicial investigation.

On Friday Spanish judge Pablo Llarena reactivated the international arrest warrant he had decided to withdraw in December so it could be reformulated.

The decision to withdraw the warrant came amid fears Belgian judicial authorities could prevent Puigdemont being tried in Spain for all the crimes he is accused of by agreeing to extradite him for only a part of the alleged offences.

He is one of a number of independence leaders facing trial in Spain for rebellion and a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

Puigdemont was stopped by police around midday in Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost of the 16 states of Germany, on a road leading to Hamburg.

He is expected to have to remain in Germany if the authorities there are happy with the arrest order issued by Spain, although there was no immediate confirmation today.