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Detention of Catalonia's Former Leader Caps Haphazard Week for Separatists

•, Jeannette Neumann

In a dramatic end to a particularly sobering week for Catalonia's pro-independence forces, former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont was detained on Sunday by German police, who were acting on an international arrest warrant issued by a Spanish judge. The judge wants to force Mr. Puigdemont to return to Spain from his self-imposed exile to stand trial on charges of rebellion against the state for his push to see Catalonia secede. Five other pro-independence leaders who remained in Spain were sent to jail on Friday on rebellion charges, joining other separatists who are also awaiting trial.

The jailed leadership and divisions within the separatist movement about how to achieve independence for Catalonia have stymied attempts during the past week to appoint a new regional government. As pro-independence forces struggle to agree on a new leader, direct rule by Madrid, which was imposed in October to quell the secessionist uprising, is likely to remain in place for at least several more weeks. An independent Catalonia, meanwhile, is becoming an ever-more distant prospect.

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