Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Former Catalan leader can be extradited on corruption charges, German court rules

Former Catalan leader can be extradited on corruption charges, German court rules

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

Catalonia's deposed leader Carles Puigdemont said on Thursday he and other separatists would "fight until the end" after a German court chose to allow his extradition, but not on the severe charge of rebellion demanded by a Spanish judge.

He therefore can not be extradited on a "rebellion" charge and, if he is returned to Spain, Spanish authorities can not prosecute Puigdemont based on that accusation.

Since his arrest in Germany, Spain has been trying to see Puigdemont extradited.

The charges are in connection with the Catalan regional government's unauthorized referendum previous year on independence from Spain and a subsequent unilateral declaration of independence by the separatist-controlled regional parliament. He was arrested on his way back from a trip to Finland.

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.

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The charge of rebellion is not recognized in Germany and the court said related German statutes such as that against treason did not apply, because his actions "did not rise to this kind of violence".

Puigdemont has been on bail since April, after a court ruled he could not be extradited for rebellion, as that was not actionable under German law.

Puigdemont hailed the decision as a victory, tweeting "we have defeated the central lie of the (Spanish) state".

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. "We will fight until the end, and we will win!" "It shows once more the deception and lies of a court case that should never have been started", he wrote.

He went on to claim that both shared the "same goal" of independence, despite 55 per cent of voters in Scotland rejecting the proposal in 2014. Before he closed this part of the proceedings, he ordered Puigdemont, Oriol Junqueras, and the four other politicians who are being held in pre-trial custody (Raül Romeva, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull and Jordi Sànchez) to be suspended from their roles as deputies in the Catalan parliament.

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