Former Catalan leader Puigdemont can be extradited, German court rules

Blanche Robertson
July 13, 2018

The German court has rejected the arguments of Spanish High Court Judge Pablo Llarena, who has been trying to see Puigdemont extradited to face charges of rebellion.

A German court chose to allow former Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont's extradition to Spain for misuse of public funds.

In its decision in the case of Carles Puigdemont, the Schleswig-Holstein state court said the former Catalan leader could be extradited on embezzlement charges, but not rebellion.

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

In its Thursday ruling, the Schleswig-Holstein court said that the acts for which Puigdemont stands accused do not amount to high treason nor a breach of public peace according to German law.

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

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

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. They could not be reached for further comment by phone and did not answer an email query.

Puigdemont fled Spain to avoid jail and has been living in the German city of Hamburg as he fights extradition.

"He was not a "spiritual leader" of violence", the court said in a statement. If extradited for misuse of funds, Puigdemont could not be tried for rebellion in Spain.

"Catalan political prisoners should be freed NOW", he said. "It will be in Europe where we win". Other Catalan politicians are facing the same charge, such as Oriol Junqueras, the former leader of the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and one-time deputy regional premier.

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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