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German court OKs former Catalan leader's extradition to Spain

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A German court ruled Thursday that former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont may be extradited to Spain on corruption charges.

Spanish courts wanted Puigdemont to go on trial for rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for organizing an illegal referendum on Catalan independence. The German court approved the corruption charge, but said the Spanish charge of rebellion didn't equate with the German penal code's charge of high treason.

"The higher regional court Schleswig has rejected the request for the extradition of Carles Puigdemont on the charge of rebellion. Therefore, as the court has explicitly determined, he cannot be prosecuted in Spain for the offence of rebellion," Puigdemont's legal team in Germany said. "However, against his extradition on charges relating to the costs of the independence referendum, the court has no legal objections."

German prosecutors have indicated they will extradite Puigdemont on the misuse of public funds charge, which could result in up to eight years in prison. Under Thursday's ruling the Spanish court will be unable to try him on the rebellion charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.

Puigdemont reacted to the ruling on Twitter, declaring the rejection of the rebellion charges a victory.

"We have defeated the main lie supported by the State. German justice denies that the referendum on October 1 was rebellion," Puigdemont wrote. "Every minute that passed with our companions in prison is a minute of shame and injustice. We'll fight until the end, and we will win!"

Puigdemont was arrested by German police in March while crossing through the country as he traveled from Finland to Belgium, where he was living in self-imposed exile after the Catalan Parliament unilaterally declared independence from Spain in October.

In April, a German court Granted his release on about $90,000 bail.
By Daniel Uria

https://www.geezgo.com/sps/30279

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