German Prosecutors Seek Puigdemont's Extradition to Spain

05 April, 2018, 01:42 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Pro-Catalan protesters in Berlin at the weekend

Germany's legal system on Tuesday took another step toward sending Catalan secessionist leader Carles Puigdemont back to Spain to face trial, as prosecutors filed an extradition request in a regional court.

"Carles Puigdemont and his lawyers are confident there will be an independent and appropriate assessment by the regional high court to which they will present detailed objections to the extradition", his lawyer, Till Dunckel, said in a statement.

Carles Puigdemont was detained in Germany on March 25 as he attempted to drive from Finland to Belgium, where he now resides.

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.

They have 60 days to make a decision.

"This has a comparable equivalent in German law", said the prosecutors in a statement.

"A word-by-word match between the German and Spanish regulations is not necessary".

Prosecutors also argued that it was reasonable for Puigdemont to be brought up on charges of misuse of public funds since the Catalonia independence referendum cost more than a million and a half euros.

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"This case is extraordinary for its importance, its political implications and all the infringements of basic rights that we will prove have been committed by the Spanish state", he told Catalonia's Rac1 radio, calling Puigdemont a "political prisoner".

A lower court in Germany had already ordered Puigdemont to remain in custody in the northern town of Neumuenster, as judicial authorities decide on his extradition. Asked about the decision at a news conference in Algiers, Rajoy said Spain would respect the decision of German courts.

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

Puigdemont's lawyer, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, said in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC1: "The German public prosecutor assumes the defence of the Spanish justice".

The Spanish court aims to try a total of 25 Catalan leaders for rebellion and other charges.

He said "the crime of rebellion demands the use of violence, and there is no violence so there is no rebellion".

They all face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of rebellion.

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