Spain's former Catalan leader Puigdemont arrested in Germany

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Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont (C) addresses a press conference at the Press Club Europe in Brussels, Belgium, on Oct. 31, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

Spain's former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont was arrested on the entry of Germany from Denmark on Sunday, German police confirmed.

According to the local Focus Online, a German police spokesperson confirmed the arrest, saying that based on a European warrant, Puigdemont was arrested at 11:19 a.m. local time by the Autobahn police force of Schleswig-Holstein, on the Federal Highway 7 in the direction toward Hamburg, from where he wanted to return to Belgium.

In the meantime, the local newspaper Kieler Nachrichten cited judicial circles as saying that Puigdemont was apparently considering applying for asylum in Germany.

"Should he do so, the asylum application will be examined as any other by the Federal Office for Migration," said a spokesman for the Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of Interior, according to the report.

In Germany the prosecution or the execution of a European arrest warrant takes precedence over an asylum procedure. The judiciary in Schleswig-Holstein is now examining whether Puigdemont will be placed in extradition. The decision of the district court is expected on Monday.

Lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas said on his Twitter that Puigdemont was held on Sunday when he crossed the border from Denmark to Germany. He also confirmed that Puigdemont had been on his way back to Belgium where he lives in exile since fleeing Spain.

Puigdemont has been a fugitive since Catalonia's failed bid to become independent from Spain last October. The Spanish Supreme Court on Friday issued fresh arrest warrants against Puigdemont and some other individuals behind the independence bid.

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