German court allows extradition of former Catalonia leader Carles Puigdemont

Lester Mason
July 12, 2018

But, a further charge of inciting rebellion, dating back to the Catalan uprising in 2017, did not warrant the former leader to be extradited from Germany to Spain, the court ruled.

Catalonia's deposed leader Carles Puigdemont said on Thursday he and other separatists would "fight until the end" after a German court made a decision to allow his extradition, but not on the severe charge of rebellion demanded by a Spanish judge.

German state prosecutors still have to formally decide on the extradition request, but said in a statement that they would do so "soon" and did not plan on appealing the ruling.

Since his arrest in Germany, Spain has been trying to see Puigdemont extradited.

Puigdemont and several other former Catalan leaders have been accused by Spanish authorities of misusing funds by holding the independence referendum last October, which Madrid described as illegal.

The decision means that if he is extradited, Puigdemont can only stand trial in Spain on embezzlement charges over allegations he misused public funds, court spokeswoman Christine von Milczewski said.

He and a number of his former colleagues are facing charges for their role in the pro-independence drive, which reached its peak a year ago with an illegal referendum on secession from Spain and the aforementioned declaration. But the process has been delayed given the German court's doubts over an equivalent to rebellion under German law - a requirement for him to be handed over to Spain on that charge - and the evidence that had been supplied by the Spanish courts to back the charges.

"We have defeated the main lie upheld by the state [Spain]. Breach of the public peace does not apply because Carles Puigdemont was only involved in carrying out the [independence] referendum", the court said in a statement, adding that he was not a "spiritual leader" of violence.

"Every minute spent by our colleagues in prison is a minute of shame and injustice".

The Spanish government rejects Catalan independence.

Catalonia's current separatist President Quim Torra, who is close to Puigdemont, tweeted that "once more the machinations and lies of a judicial case that never should have started have come to light".

This week saw Pablo Llarena, the High Court judge in charge of the cases against the pro-independence figures, wind up the investigative phase of the probe.

English version by Simon Hunter.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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