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German court refuses to extradite Carles Puigdemont, releases him on bail

Thursday, 5 April, 2018 - 18:13

German justice announced on Thursday night the release under judicial supervision of former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, saying that extradition to Spain on grounds of rebellion is not admissable.

In a statement, the public prosecutor’s office of Schleswig-Holstein said that the charge of rebellion is “inadmissible”, but believes that extradition could go ahead on the grounds of misappropriation of public funds.

The court said it does not believe that Puigdemont is at risk of political persecution. Although it states that the risk of flight continues, the court considers that the offence of rebellion is inadmissible because┬áthe comparable crime in Germany, that of “high treason”, can not be applied as the requirement of “violence” has not been met.

Although the court agreed that Puigdemont, as the promoter and defender of the independence referendum, can be blamed for the acts of violence registered during the referendum, “by their nature, extent and effect” these acts did not have the capacity to “submit the Government to such pressure that it would have been forced to capitulate to the demands of the those causing the violence.”

Regarding the accusation of misappropriation of public funds according to the Spanish Penal Code, the prosecutor said that it may be admissible, but warns that it will be necessary to clarify more facts and request additional information.

The Puigdemont’s lawyer, Jaume Alonso Cuevillas, celebrated the decision. “He had always said that he had full confidence in German justice,” he said in a tweet. He added that “the German justice leaves Puigdemont free and discards the crime of rebellion.”

The former president of Catalonia has been in the prison of Neumuenster since March 25, when he was arrested by the German police. The General Prosecutor’s Office of Schleswig-Holstein decided on Tuesday to process the extradition of Puigdemont and keep him in prison due to a “risk of flight”.

 


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