German Court Authorizes Extradition to Spain of Catalonia's Former Leader

Elias Hubbard
July 13, 2018

Germany would only extradite the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont to Spain on a charge of misuse of public funds, not the more serious charge of rebellion, a court has ruled.

The court in Schleswig-Holstein gave its green light to the extradition of the 55-year-old for misuse of public funds but not rebellion, which carries up to 25 years in jail.

After an initial ruling that Puigdemont could not be extradited for rebellion because the comparable German treason charge requires the defendant to have committed violence, prosecutors in May said they had received new video evidence showing violence against Spanish police which they claimed made extradition on the charge possible.

A German state prosecutor says it will decide soon an extradition charge after the court deemed such action was permissible.

If Puigdemont is extradited, the Supreme Court in charge of the case will not be able to try him for rebellion, which would be a severe setback for Spain.

He and a number of his former colleagues are facing charges for their role in the pro-independence drive, which reached its peak a year ago with an illegal referendum on secession from Spain and the aforementioned declaration. The text continues: "Puigdemont was only aiming for a referendum to be held [.] He was not the inciter of violence".

The Schleswig-Holstein court said that the acts for which Puigdemont stands accused do not amount to high treason nor a breach of peace in German law.

According to German law, a person can be extradited only if charges against him/her are punishable in Germany.

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.

"We will fight to the end, and we will win", tweeted Puigdemont who is wanted by Spain over his role in Catalonia's failed independence bid in October.

This week saw Pablo Llarena, the High Court judge in charge of the cases against the pro-independence figures, wind up the investigative phase of the probe.

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

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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