Prosecutors in Germany Call For Extradition of Former Catalonian Separatist Leader

04 April, 2018, 01:05 | Author: Essie Rivera
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German prosecutors filed a request to a regional court on Tuesday for the extradition of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont to Spain, where he faces charges of rebellion over the region's campaign for independence.

The attorney general in Germany's northern state of Schleswig-Holstein has applied to the Higher Regional Court for an extradition order of Puigdemont, Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) confirmed.

"The accusation of rebellion essentially contemplates the holding of an unconstitutional referendum even though violent confrontations were to be expected", said the prosecution's statement.

Prosecutors said after close examination of the warrant for Puigdemont, issued by Spain's supreme court, they found "equivalences with the charge of rebellion in German criminal law" and therefore present the extradition request.

The ousted Catalan president was arrested last month in Germany as he crossed into the country by auto. He is wanted in Spain on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds.

Carrying out of referendum was "in principle not punishable", Puigdemont's lawyers Wolfgang Schomburg and Soeren Schomburg said in an emailed statement.

The Schleswig court is likely to take several days to decide on the prosecutors' request. No date for the decision was announced and Puigdemont will stay in jail for now.

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The German government said on March 30 that it would not interfere or veto any court decision on Puigdemont's fate, as the act would be considered a "legal affront" by the federal government against the judicial system.

Prosecutors argued that Puigdemont, 55, should be detained as there was a danger he would try to escape.

The lawyers have also urged the German government to intervene in the case, citing the "political dimension".

"If the two criteria are fulfilled - that an extradition does not immediately appear inadmissable and that there is reason for arrest - that is a danger of flight - then the conditions for an arrest warrant are met", she said.

The former Catalan leader was arrested late last month, while driving into Germany from Denmark.

He had been living in exile in Brussels after failed attempt to separate Catalonia from Spain last October. Spain denies this and says their actions violated the Spanish constitution.

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