German Court Says Spain Separatist Leader Can't Be Extradited for Rebellion

Catalan ex-leader Puigdemont can be extradited for corruption not rebellion – German court

A north Germany court granted bail to former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont accused of corruption among other serious charges.

The separatist majority in Catalonia's regional parliament had wanted to elect Puigdemont as Catalan president, but he fled to Belgium to escape arrest in Spain on rebellion charges for his role in the region's push last October to break away from Spain.

According to a statement issued by the Court today, "for legal reasons" extradition for rebellion cannot be accepted as it is established by the Spanish Penal Code, because the charges against him would not be punishable in Germany according to the current laws here.

The German court set bail at 75,000 euros ($92,000). It wasn't immediately clear when Puigdemont would be released.

"I have always said that I had full confidence in German justice", Puigdemont's lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas said on Twitter.

Rebellion is not a criminal offence in Germany, the court said, and the charge of high treason was unwarranted, due to the lack of a violent aspect to Puigdemont's actions.

However, the court in the northern city of Schleswig said there could be a case to answer for misusing public funds last October to hold an unauthorised independence referendum.

The German system is still studying Spain's extradition request.

The Catalan separatist leader could still be extradited on a charge of misusing public funds, the judges added, although "further facts must be clarified and information gathered" in the coming days and weeks.

If Puigdemont makes the bail payment and leaves prison, he can't leave Germany without prosecutors' approval, must inform prosecutors of every change of residence and report to police once a week, court spokeswoman Frauke Holmer said.

Trapero was hailed in Catalonia as a local hero for the handling of deadly extremist attacks in and near Barcelona last summer.



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