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German prosecutors ask court to extradite Carles Puigdemont to Spain

Sacked Catalonian President Carles Puigdemont arrives for a press conference in Brussels, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. Puigdemont arrived in Brussels on Monday, the same day that Spanish prosecutors announced they were seeking rebellion, sedition and embezzlement charges against deposed Catalan officials, including the ex-regional leader. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Prosecutors in Germany are seeking the extradition of former Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont to Spain, where he could face trial for his role in organising an independence referendum.

Mr Puigdemont was detained in Germany on March 25 as he attempted to drive from Finland to Belgium, where he currently resides.

Prosecutors in the northern town of Schleswig said they have asked the regional court to formally put him in pre-extradition custody following "intensive examination" of the European arrest warrant issued by Spain's supreme court on March 23.

If the court agrees to the request, prosecutors would still need to issue an order signing off on Mr Puigdemont's extradition.

In addition to rebellion, Madrid accuses the 55-year-old of misuse of public funds.

Schleswig prosecutors said in a statement they consider the charge of rebellion to have an equivalent in German law - one of the requirements for extradition to take place.

"The accusation of rebellion contains at its core the allegation of carrying out an unconstitutional referendum despite expectations of violent disturbances," the prosecutors said.

They noted that during a meeting with police on September 28, Mr Puigdemont was warned that violence might escalate on the day of the October 1 referendum, but his government went through with it anyway.

In an interview from jail, published on Monday, Mr Puigdemont insisted the campaign for the Spanish region's independence was nonviolent.

The Schleswig court is likely to take several days to decide on the prosecutors' request.

Mr Puigdemont's lawyers have urged the German government to intervene in the case, citing the "political dimension".

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