Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

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

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

A German court on Thursday removed a hurdle to the extradition of a prominent Catalan politician on charges of embezzlement, setting the stage for a possible trial in Spain but on lesser charges than prosecutors there had hoped for.

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.

Puigdemont went into self-imposed exile in Belgium after Madrid fired him and his government for "illegally" declaring independence for Catalonia.

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".

"However, in authorising Mr Puigdemont's extradition for the offence of misuse of public funds, it seems that the German court rejected, or was unable to consider, whether extradition should be refused on the basis that the prosecution was politically motivated".

"We have demolished the biggest lie propagated by the [Spanish] state", Puigdemont wrote today on Twitter. "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.

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

A second charge of rebellion did not warrant an extradition from Germany to Spain, the court ruled. "We will fight to the end, and we will win!", Puigdemont said, referring to other pro-independence Catalan leaders in detention. Every minute that our colleagues spend in jail is a minute of shame and injustice.

He was arrested in germany on March 28, with the spanish government accusing him of of rebelling and misappropriating public funds.

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. "It shows once more the deception and lies of a court case that should never have been started", he wrote.

"Catalan political prisoners should be freed NOW", he said.

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