Saturday, 22 September, 2018

German prosecutor to decide on extradition of former Catalan leader to Spain

German court authorises extradition of Carles Puigdemont | Spain News German court says Carles Puigdemont extradition is permissable
Steven Clarke | 13 July, 2018, 01:19

A court in Schleswig-Holstein ruled on Thursday that Puigdemont could be extradited, but only on a charge of misuse of public funds.

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.

However, Sanchez said it was important that Puigdemont was tried in Spanish courts for his actions during Catalonia's unilateral declaration of independence in October.

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

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The charge of misuse of public funds carries a maximum prison sentence of eight years while the more serious charge of rebellion, faced by many of Puigdemont's former cabinet, could put him in prison for up to 30 years.

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.

"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". The court said in its ruling that he can remain free. "We will fight to the end, and we will win!", Puigdemont said, referring to other pro-independence Catalan leaders in detention. "It will be in Europe where we win".

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".

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