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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

German Court: Extradition of Ex-Catalan Leader Admissible for Embezzlement

BERLIN – A regional court in northern Germany ruled on Thursday that the extradition of the deposed leader of the Spanish region of Catalonia would be legally admissible on one of the charges brought against him by authorities in Spain, but not on two others.

Carles Puigdemont, who currently lives in self-imposed exile in Germany, was wanted by a magistrate at Spain’s national court for allegedly committing the crimes of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement when his government held an independence referendum on Oct. 1 that had been deemed unlawful because it breached the Spanish Constitution.

The high court of the state of Schleswig-Holstein said that, following a request by state prosecutors, it considered “extradition for the charge of rebellion inadmissible,” since the alleged acts “fulfilled neither the German offense of high treason (Section 81 of the Criminal Code) nor of breaching of the peace (Section 125 Criminal Code).”

The court added that Puigdemont could not be considered the “intellectual leader” of any violence that occurred in the days leading up to and after the referendum.

With regard to the allegation of misappropriation of public funds, the court upheld its earlier assessment and declared an extradition would be admissible on those grounds, as there was some evidence that Puigdemont was co-responsible for the introduction of financial obligations to the detriment of public coffers.

“As regional president, (Puigdemont) could have easily foreseen that the implementation of a referendum would cost money,” the court said.

However, the court refrained from ordering the detention of Puigdemont while he awaits a final decision on the extradition, arguing that the former Catalan president had always complied with the conditions of his release on bail after he was arrested while crossing the Danish-German border on March 25.

 

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