German court orders former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont held in custody during extradition hearing

A German court has ruled that the former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont must remain in custody in Germany while he battles extradition to Spain.

Mr Puigdemont's arrested in Germany over the weekend sparked protests across the Spanish region of Catalonia.

The court in the northern German town of Neumuenster said the formal requirements to detain Mr Puigdemont had been met by a European arrest warrant issued by Spain.

In denying him bail, the court said Mr Puigdemont posed a flight risk, concluding that he had "a strong incentive" to try to travel to Belgium where his potentially has a greater chance of avoiding extradition.

Spanish authorities accuse Mr Puigdemont of rebellion and the misuse of public funds in organising an unauthorized referendum on independence for Catalonia last year.

German officials have stressed that the case is a matter for the judicial system, but declined to say whether the government could ultimately overrule a court decision.