Catalan ex-leader Puigdemont remains in Berlin on bail

Catalan ex-leader Puigdemont remains in Berlin on bail

On March 23, Spanish Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena initiated a European arrest warrant for 25 Catalan politicians, including Puigdemont, regarding the illegitimate Catalan independence referendum of 2017.

In his press conference, Puigdemont called for global mediation and talks over the future of Catalonia, saying Spanish government should have "respect for democracy".

Puigdemont's release is also an embarrassing blow for Spain's conservative government, which has insisted the dispute over Catalan separatism is a legal issue, not a political one, and has refused to be drawn into negotiations with the former Catalan president and his supporters since October's banned referendum. He said there are no excuses for the Spanish authorities to avoid "a political dialogue with the Catalan political leaders in order to find a political solution of our demands, not by criminal law".

The German court in Schleswig on Thursday ruled that they will not extradite him on the basis of his rebellion charge, while pending the decision to extradite him on his embezzlement charge.

"I hope the situation could help". The court has concluded that extradition to Spain was not possible on the charge of "rebellion", since it did not see evidence that Puigdemont meant to use force to gain Catalan independence. But only after the end of the proceedings here in Germany, not before", he told reporters in Berlin."My plan is to remain of course in Berlin.

"Berlin is now my residence until the end of this process".

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TRT World spoke with Barcelona-based journalist Marah Rayan for more details.

Germany's Minister of Justice, Katarina Barley, said "it will not be easy" for Spain to prove that charge and if it fails, "then Puigdemont will be a free man in a free country, that is, Germany". However, if he is sent back to face trial on that charge, under European law he will no longer be able to be prosecuted in Spain for rebellion.

Spain is seeking Puigdemont's extradition for rebellion and misuse of public funds in organizing an unauthorized referendum past year on Catalonia's independence from Spain.

A German court is deciding whether Puigdemont should be extradited on the lesser charge of misuse of public funds to hold a banned referendum on independence for Catalonia a year ago.

Spain's Supreme Court reactivated global arrest warrants last month for Puigdemont and four other Catalan politicians who went into self-imposed exile past year.

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