The former president of the Catalonia region was on Sunday detained as he attempted to cross the German border after a European arrest warrant was issued by Spain, where he faces charges of rebellion and sedition, German police confirmed.
Carles Puigdemont's lawyer said he was being held at a police station in Germany and had been detained as he made his way by car back to Belgium, the country he fled to in Oct. after the Spanish judiciary announced it would be investigating him for his alleged part in organizing a separatist referendum and the subsequent declaration of independence.
The spokesperson for the Kiel city criminal police, Uwe Keller, told EFE that he was picked up at 11.19 am (local time) on a road that connects Germany and Denmark and local media reported that he had been transferred to a prison in the northern town of Neumunster.
Judicial sources confirmed to EFE that Germany now had up to 90 days to decide whether to extradite Puigdemont to Spain, a move that he is opposed to as he believes he would not get a fair trial there.
He had been in Finland to give a talk but left on Friday after the Spanish judiciary reactivated a European arrest warrant.
Later on Sunday, Scotland police said they had received a European arrest warrant for former education adviser Clara Ponsati, who had also fled Spain to avoid facing charges.
The warrants and detention were met with large protests in Barcelona, where hundreds of people marched to demand freedom for what they consider to be political prisoners.
Puigdemont and his government were removed from their posts after the Spanish Senate activated Article 50 of the Constitution, which saw the Catalonia region's autonomy reeled back in response to the declaration of independence.
The Spanish judiciary has formally filed rebellion charges against 13 people allegedly involved in Catalonia's failed bid for independence, nine of which are also facing charges of misuse of public funds.
Arrest warrants have been issued for at least four people who fled the country, while many other remain in pre-trial detention, including former vice president Oriol Junqueras.