Catalonia's former leader will 'fight until the end' if extradited to Spain

The more serious charge of rebellion is not recognised under German law which means that Spain would not be able to try Mr Puigdemont on this charge

Catalonia's former leader will 'fight until the end' if extradited to Spain

A court in the northern German state of Schleswig Holstein has decided today to extradite former Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont to Spain.

A court in Schleswig-Holstein ruled on Thursday that Puigdemont could be extradited, but only on a charge of misuse of public funds.

After an initial ruling that Puigdemont could not be extradited for rebellion because the comparable German treason charge requires the defendant to have committed violence, prosecutors in May said they had received new video evidence showing violence against Spanish police which they claimed made extradition on the charge possible.

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".

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.

The court has not made a decision to impose any precautionary measures on Puigdemont, meaning that he remains a free man.

Puigdemont went into self-imposed exile in Belgium after Madrid fired him and his government for "illegally" declaring independence for Catalonia.

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Puigdemont fled to Brussels after Spanish courts issued a warrant for his arrest over his role in Catalonia's declaration of independence last October.

A second charge of rebellion did not warrant an extradition from Germany to Spain, the court ruled.

According to German law, a person can be extradited only if charges against him/her are punishable in Germany.

"The amount of violence required for the charge of high treason was not seen in the altercations in Spain".

"Every minute that our companions spend in prison is a minute of shame and injustice". "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.

This week saw Pablo Llarena, the High Court judge in charge of the cases against the pro-independence figures, wind up the investigative phase of the probe.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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