Monday, 23 July, 2018

German Court Authorizes Extradition to Spain of Catalonia's Former Leader

The more serious charge of rebellion is not recognised under German law which means that Spain would not be able to try Mr Puigdemont on this charge German court authorises extradition of Carles Puigdemont | Spain News
Jeannette Daniel | 12 July, 2018, 19:01

"The accusation of misuse of public funds is acceptable, extradition for rebellion is not acceptable", the German court stated in a press release.

A German court has ruled that former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who led the Spanish region's recent failed bid for independence, can be extradited to Spain on a corruption charge, but not on a charge of rebellion against the government in Madrid.

The court has not chose to impose any precautionary measures on Puigdemont, meaning that he remains a free man.

If Puigdemont is extradited, the Supreme Court in charge of the case will not be able to try him for rebellion, which would be a severe setback for Spain.

A spokeswoman confirmed: "The Higher Regional Court this morning has decided that an extradition for the alleged misappropriation of public funds is allowed".

"He was not a "spiritual leader" of violence", the court said in a statement.

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The charges are in connection with the Catalan regional government's unauthorized referendum past year on independence from Spain and a subsequent unilateral declaration of independence by the separatist-controlled regional parliament.

The separatist leader was held on a European arrest warrant in March while crossing into northern Germany on the way to Brussels, where he was living in self-imposed exile. In Spain, he could face imprisonment.

The current Catalan regional premier, Quim Torra, a hard-line supporter of Catalan independence, was quick to voice his reaction to the news via Twitter.

Also present was St Andrews professor Clara Ponsati, who is fighting extradition on charges of "violent rebellion" after helping organise last year's Catalan referendum.

While separatists had hoped Mr. Puigdemont could avoid extradition altogether, Thursday's decision is likely to invigorate Catalonia's pro-independence forces. If extradited, he will not be tried for rebellion.

After an initial ruling that Puigdemont could not be extradited for rebellion because the comparable German treason charge requires the defendant to have committed violence, prosecutors in May said they had received new video evidence showing violence against Spanish police which they claimed made extradition on the charge possible.

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