Former Catalan leader Puigdemont can be extradited, German court rules

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is in Germany

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is in Germany. FELIPE TRUEBA EFE

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.

A German court on Thursday removed a hurdle to the extradition of a prominent Catalan politician on charges of embezzlement, setting the stage for a possible trial in Spain but on lesser charges than prosecutors there had hoped for.

A source in Puigdemont's legal team said the former Catalan leader would appeal a decision to extradite him from Germany on any charge.

Puigdemont's press spokesman, Joan Maria Pique, issued a short statement saying that without the rebellion charge the "main Spanish accusation falls".

"Extradition on the accusation of misappropriation of public funds is permissible; extradition on the accusation of rebellion is not permissible", the superior regional court of Schleswig-Holstein state said in a statement.

DPA news agency reported a spokesperson said the extradition order for Puigdemont will soon be approved by Schleswig-Holstein's state attorney general.

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Mr Puigdemont went into exile in Belgium after Madrid sacked him and his government for unilaterally declaring independence for Catalonia...

He and a number of his former colleagues are facing charges for their role in the pro-independence drive, which reached its peak previous year with an illegal referendum on secession from Spain and the aforementioned declaration.

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

"The amount of violence required for the charge of high treason was not seen in the altercations in Spain". "The German justice system denies that the October 1 referendum was rebellion". This was illegal under Spain's constitution, according to Spanish law.

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. "It shows once more the deception and lies of a court case that should never have been started", he wrote.

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