German police say they have "arrested" exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont. This Sunday morning, when the Catalan politician was crossing the border by car from Denmark en route to Belgium, the country where he currently resides, he was stopped and held by German police in application of the European arrest warrant issued by Spanish Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena.
The German police in the region of Schleswig-Holstein announced in a tweet in English around 3pm that he had been "arrested".
As reported around midday by Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, Puigdemont's lawyer, the president is now being held by the German authorities, while the appropriate "checks" are made regarding the pending arrest warrant. This is also confirmed by sources in his political group, Together for Catalonia (JxCat).
The German officers stopped Puigdemont shortly before noon, when he had just crossed the German border from Denmark by road heading in the direction of Hamburg, from where he had intended to return to Belgium.
The detention did not take place at the border crossing itself, but rather in German territory, close to the frontier.
1. El president Carles Puigdemont ha estat retingut a Alemanya quan creuava la frontera des de Dinamarca, de camí cap a Bèlgica des de Finlàndia.— J. Alonso-Cuevillas (@JaumeAlonsoCuev) 25 de marzo de 2018
2. El tracte ha estat correcte en tot moment. Hores d'ara es troba en una comissaria i la seva defensa jurídica ja està activada.— J. Alonso-Cuevillas (@JaumeAlonsoCuev) 25 de marzo de 2018
3. El president es dirigia a Bèlgica per posar-se, com sempre, a disposició de la justícia belga.— J. Alonso-Cuevillas (@JaumeAlonsoCuev) 25 de marzo de 2018
Translation of tweets: 1. President Carles Puigdemont has been held in Germany when crossing the border from Denmark, on his way to Belgium from Finland. 2. He has been treated correctly at all times. At present he is in a police station and his legal defence has already been activated. 3. The president was travelling to Belgium to put himself at the disposition of Belgian justice, as ever. - Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas
As Alonso-Cuevillas added in statements to the EFE news agency, Puigdemont’s Belgian lawyer – he has a Belgian lawyer to represent him before Belgian justice - is contacting German lawyers to organize legal assistance for the former Catalan president with a view to the arrest warrant he faces. Alonso-Cuevillas also said he had spoken to Puigdemont on the phone and that he had told him that he was being treated well by the German police.
In Switzerland and Finland
Puigdemont had travelled to Finland last Thursday, after a five-day trip to Switzerland, where he participated in conferences and held meetings with politicians in the country.
The president, who has been in exile for five months in Belgium, was returning to his residence at Waterloo when he was detained. Puigdemont had planned to contact the Belgian authorities when he returned to the country.
The retention of the president comes after judge Pablo Llarena, of Spain's Supreme Court, re-activated the European warrant for his arrest, allowing any EU police force to arrest him. The issue of this warrant came after the judge had formally indicted him along with other Catalan leaders, on counts of rebellion and other charges, arising from the Catalan independence process and last October's referendum.