Arrested Catalan ex-leader Puigdemont to appear in German court

The prision where Carles Puigdemont, former Catalan leader, is expected to be held in custody, in Neumuenster, Germany, on March 25, 2018.
The prision where Carles Puigdemont, former Catalan leader, is expected to be held in custody, in Neumuenster, Germany, on March 25, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BERLIN (AFP) - Catalonia's ousted president Carles Puigdemont is to appear before a judge on Monday (March 26) after he was detained by German police on a European arrest warrant issued by Spain, prosecutors said Sunday (March 25).

"The sole purpose of this appearance is to verify the identity of the person arrested," the regional tribunal in the town of Schleswig said in a statement.

The court will then decide if Puigdemont will be formally taken into custody pending extradition proceedings, it added.

Judges "will establish on the basis of documents provided by the Kingdom of Spain... if Mr Puigdemont's transfer to the Spanish authorities is legally founded," the court said.

It added that the 55-year-old was currently in detention without providing further details.

German police arrested Puigdemont earlier on Sunday as he crossed over by car from Denmark, where he had been visiting lawmakers.

Spain's supreme court announced Friday it would prosecute 13 Catalan separatists for "rebellion" including Puigdemont, for their role in the region's failed bid to break away from Madrid last year.

If found guilty, they face up to 30 years in prison. Twelve more face less serious charges such as disobedience.