Monday, 18 February, 2019

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

German court authorises extradition of Carles Puigdemont | Spain News German court says Carles Puigdemont extradition is permissable
Deanna Wagner | 13 July, 2018, 01:18

A German court made a decision to allow former Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont's extradition to Spain for misuse of public funds.

He therefore can not be extradited on a "rebellion" charge and, if he is returned to Spain, Spanish authorities can not prosecute Puigdemont based on that accusation. This means that he can only be tried on the former charge once he is back in Spain.

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

The court in Schleswig-Holstein gave its green light to the extradition of the 55-year-old for misuse of public funds but not rebellion, which carries up to 25 years in jail.

Puigdemont is one of 13 separatist leaders accused of rebellion, four of whom are in self-exile in various European countries. Junqueras, along with five other figures from the pro-independence drive, has been in pre-trial custody since November.

A spokeswoman for the court said: "The court decided this morning that an extradition due to the accusation of misuse of public funds is permissible".

Mr Puigdemont went into exile in Belgium after Madrid sacked him and his government for unilaterally declaring independence for Catalonia... Several other politicians have also fled Spain, heading to countries such as Belgium, Switzerland and Scotland.

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The court thus rejected the German state prosecutor's argument that the Spanish charge of "rebellion" could be equated with the German penal code's charge of "high treason".

Puigdemont has been on bail since April, after a court ruled he could not be extradited for rebellion, as that was not actionable under German law. "The scale of the violence needed for high treason was not reached during the disturbances". The text continues: "Puigdemont was only aiming for a referendum to be held [.] He was not the inciter of violence".

He is wanted in Spain for alleged misuse of public funds in relation to Catalonia's independence declaration, as well as "rebellion" in organising a referendum that Madrid deemed illegal.

"We have defeated the main lie given by the state. We will fight until the end, and we will win!"

The Spanish government rejects Catalan independence.

"This demonstrates once again the mistakes and lies behind a legal case which should never have been opened".