An arrest warrant had been issued for Puigdemont in Finland after the former president visited the country for talks with lawmakers. He was returning to Belgium, where he lives in self-imposed exile, when he was detained by German authorities after crossing the border from Denmark.
“First Minister Carles Puigdemont has been detained in Germany when he was crossing the border from Denmark,”Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, Puigdemont’s lawyer, tweeted Sunday. Puigdemont is now said to be in a police station awaiting his legal team. German police have confirmed the arrest. It is unclear where Puigdemont is being held.
Puigdemont fled Finland after authorities there confirmed they had received an extradition request from Spain. “Spain has requested extradition of its national, who is currently visiting Finland,” the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation said in a statement on Saturday. “The police have reported to the prosecutor and have engaged in the exchange of additional information with Spanish authorities.”
An EU arrest warrant for Puigdemont and a number of his aides was issued by the Spanish Supreme Court Friday. Puigdemont is wanted on charges of rebellion and sedition after leading a pro-independence referendum deemed illegal by the Spanish government late last year.
Responding to those angered by the decision of police to enforce the arrest warrant Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said that while her government supports “the right of the people of Catalonia to determine their own future and that we strongly oppose the Spanish Government’s decision to seek the arrest and imprisonment of independence supporting politicians,” her government is “legally obliged” to comply with extradition requests.
2/ Under Extradition Act 2003, Scottish Ministers have no power to intervene in the process and our police and courts are legally obliged to follow due process. This does not change @scotgov political view…
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) March 25, 2018
Sturgeon added that, because the legal process allows individuals to oppose extradition in the courts, it is important that the government “says nothing to prejudice the integrity of that process.”
Scottish National Party MP Ian Blackford weighed in on the arrest controversy, saying that he will be seeking a meeting with the Spanish Ambassador to ask for “an explanation for the arrest warrant for Clara Ponsatí.”
“Spain needs to think carefully, arresting politicians in such a situation is not the right thing to do in a democracy,” he added.
I will be writing to the Spanish Ambassador in London, asking for a meeting and an explanation for the arrest warrant for Clara Ponsatí. Spain needs to think carefully, arresting politicians in such a situation is not the right thing to do in a democracy.
— Ian Blackford (@IanBlackfordMP) March 25, 2018
Ponsatí, Puigdemont and the others are wanted on charges of rebellion and sedition, after leading a pro-independence referendum deemed illegal by the Spanish government late last year.
The vote led to riots across the region amid accusations of police violence. Puidgemont fled the region in the wake of the vote. A number of his colleagues have spent time in jail and are now facing trial.
Puigdemont was detained earlier on Sunday, having crossed the German border and after narrowly evading arrest in Finland. A number of his colleagues have spent time in jail and are now facing trial. Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Barcelona to protest Puidgemont’s arrest Sunday.