German court bails Carles Puigdemont as extradition for corruption considered

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont | Emmanuel Dunand  AFP via Getty Images
Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont | Emmanuel Dunand AFP via Getty Images
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06 April, 2018

A German court has ruled that former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont can be released on bail pending a decision on his possible extradition to Spain.

The separatist leader was arrested in late March in northern Germany, while he was traveling from Denmark to Belgium. "It always respects them, whether it likes them or not", a government spokeswoman said.

However, the court disagreed Thursday, saying Puigdemont can't be extradited for rebellion.

According to a statement issued by the Court today, "for legal reasons" extradition for rebellion cannot be accepted as it is established by the Spanish Penal Code, because the charges against him would not be punishable in Germany according to the current laws here.

Nevertheless, Puigdemont's defence team were "very happy for our client" that the "outrageous" charge of rebellion had been set aside, Dunckel said.

The German judges will consider Puigdemont's extradition on the less serious charge of misusing public funds.

"That is not the case here", the court said in a statement.

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But defense attorneys said those statements were coerced, and there was no audio or video tape of the interrogation. The dates of the money transfers were between March 16, 2016, and June 5, 2016, according to the email.


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Madrid also accuses Puigdemont of misuse of public funds.

The German system is still studying Spain's extradition request.

Spanish authorities accuse Puigdemont of rebellion and misuse of public funds in organizing an unauthorized referendum previous year on Catalonia's independence from Spain.

Puigdemont has written an open letter from prison, urging Catalonia's parliament to make another attempt to elect jailed separatist activist Jordi Sànchez as the region's president. He was arrested last month in Germany as he crossed into the country by auto.

Former Catalan police Chief Josep Lluis Trapero was indicted today by Judge Carmen Lamela of the Spanish national court for his involvement in the independence movement.

The ex-police chief - who was credited for the force's swift response in the 2017 Barcelona terror attacks - resigned previous year in the aftermath of the referendum.

He then came under pressure when central authorities urged the regional police to stop the October 1 referendum banned by Spanish courts.


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