Catalan ex-governor remains in German police custody due to "flight risk"

The UN Human Rights Committee registered the complaint by former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont on the violation of his political rights by Spain.

The protesters blocked an important route to the north of the Catalan region early in the morning to protest against the arrest of former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

On October 1, Catalonia held an independence referendum, which the central authorities did not recognize.

"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.

According to Puigdemont's lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, he was on his way back to Belgium, where he fled after Spanish authorities moved to impose direct rule over Catalonia.

The prosecutor's spokeswoman noted that there is a 60-day deadline for a detainee to receive a decision about extradition, but added that this was more of a guideline than a requirement.

On Sunday, thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets of Barcelona following reports of the detainment of the ex-leader.

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

Steffen Seibert, the official spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said it was the federal government's view that the conflict between Madrid and Barcelona has to be solved "within the framework of the Spanish legal and constitutional order" and that Berlin had already assisted the Spanish government towards this end during the past months. 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". He and 12 other separatist leaders were officially charged with rebellion.

He was traveling from Denmark to Belgium, where he has been living in self-imposed exile since October a year ago. By that argument, Alonso-Cuevillas said, Puigdemont should not be extradited. "Spain does not guarantee a fair trial; only revenge and repression", she wrote on Twitter.

After Puigdemont was forced to withdraw his bid for the presidency as he could not return to Spain without facing arrest, another pro-independence leader Jordi Sanchez followed suit when a judge refused to let him out of jail to be sworn in.

  • Gwendolyn Kim