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

Carles Puigdemont was living in self-imposed exile in Belgium following the failed independence bid until his arrest in Germany in March

Carles Puigdemont was living in self-imposed exile in Belgium following the failed independence bid until his arrest in Germany in March

A German court ruled on Thursday that former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont could be extradited to Spain for alleged misuse of public funds, but it rejected a request to send him back to answer a more serious charge of rebellion.

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.

The charges are in connection with the Catalan regional government's unauthorized referendum previous year on independence from Spain and a subsequent unilateral declaration of independence by the separatist-controlled regional parliament.

"We have defeated the main lie sustained by the state", Puigdemont tweeted.

The current Catalan regional premier, Quim Torra, a hard-line supporter of Catalan independence, was quick to voice his reaction to the news via 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.

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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.

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.

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

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

The Spanish government wanted Puigdemont to go on trial for rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for organising an illegal referendum in Catalonia that led to a unilateral declaration of independence in October, with the former charge potentially leading to a prison sentence of up to 25 years. "It will be in Europe where we win". "It shows once more the deception and lies of a court case that should never have been started", he wrote.

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