06:18 GMT +322 February 2019
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    El retrato del expresidente catalán Carles Puigdemont con la petición de libertad para los presos políticos

    Catalan Ex-Leader Considered Escaping to Russia Before Arrest in Germany

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    The former president of the Spanish region of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, has demanded "the immediate liberation" of all politicians imprisoned for taking part in the Catalan independence process, and has called for a dialogue to resolve the region's political situation, according to El Mundo.

    "It is a shame for Europe to have political prisoners," Puigdemont stated, adding that he had always been assured that European justice was committed to human rights and the separation of powers.

    After the Catalan Independence Referendum in October 2017, Carles Puigdemont fled to Belgium to avoid arrest, while several ministers of the former Catalan government were detained. On his way to Belgium, he left Waterloo to travel to Switzerland. There he has spent several days, participated in conferences and held meetings, after which he flew to Finland on March 22. But it turned out that Finland had already received an arrest order with Puigdemont's name on it. 

    Then the former president, according to El Mundo, had two options, to go to Russia, which has a border with Finland, as St. Petersburg is only a four or five-hour drive, or to travel to Stockholm, as he did. On March 23 he arrived at Lapland and made it through to Sweden, where he created a plan to return to Belgium, where he currently resides, through Denmark and Germany. 

    READ MORE: Ex-Catalan Leader Puigdemont Leaves German Prison After Paying Bail (VIDEO)

    The ex-president of Catalonia was detained in Germany on a European arrest warrant issued by Spain on March 25 when he crossed the border with Denmark.

    In April, the court of the German federal state Schleswig-Holstein decreed the release of former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, charged with organizing an insurrection and embezzling state funds, on bail for a sum of 75,000 euro (about $92,000) for the duration of the extradition hearings.

    Ex-Catalan leader Puigdemont hopes to return to live in Belgium, as told reporters in Berlin.

    "My wish is to return to Belgium. But only after the end of the proceedings here in Germany, not before. My plan is to remain of course in Berlin. It is my residence now until the end of this process," he said.


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