Germany Files Request to Extradite Puigdemont

German prosecutors are seeking to extradite former Catalan president to Spain where he could face trial over an independence referendum.

The court must now decide whether to carry out the extradition warrant.

Puigdemont has been held in a detention centre in the northern German town of Neumuenster for just over a week after he was arrested in Germany on March 25th.

Puigdemont is being charged in Spain with rebellion and misuse of public funds, for his involvement in the Catalan independence referendum of October 2017.

Puigdemont's arrest has sent tensions soaring at home, triggering a wave of protests in the wealthy northeastern Spanish region.


They said that police had warned Puigdemont that violence might escalate on the day of the referendum, but his government went ahead with it in any case. Yesterday, a small group of demonstrators, some draped in Catalan pro-independence Estelada flags, held a solidarity rally outside the prison gates.

While the charge of rebellion does not apply in Germany, the state prosecutor said on Tuesday that it could be equated with high treason in German law.

Prosecutors in the state of Schleswig-Holstein said Spain's extradition request was admissible because accusations of rebellion included carrying out an anti-constitutional referendum which could cause violent clashes.

"Word-for-word conformance between the German and Spanish criminal codes is thus not legally required", it said. "It is in the hands of the courts", a justice ministry spokesman said.

The Schleswig court is likely to take several days to decide on the prosecutors' request. It will then rule on the extradition bid itself.


Under EU extradition agreements, Mr Puigdemont can only be tried on the charges he is extradited for.

"We will continue to work to build a free country, to ensure we have a society with less injustice, more equality, more solidarity and more fraternity with all the peoples of the world, starting with the peoples of Spain with whom we want to remain connected through respect and mutual recognition", he said in an audio recording handed to a German MP who visited him in prison.

In Spain, Puigdemont has already filed an appeal against a decision to prosecute him, arguing that the rebellion charge against him is unjustified.

The Spanish government is now trying 25 Catalan nationalist leaders who were involved in the October 2017 secessionist vote.


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