Thursday, 26 April, 2018

Puigdemont May Not Be Extradited on Rebellion Charge

Catalan regional police chief Josep Luis Trapero attends a press conference in Barcelona Spain. The former chief of Catalonia’s regional police and other regional security officials have been charged wit Ex-Catalan Police Chief Indicted Over Involvement in Independence Referendum
Charlie Simmons | 06 April, 2018, 04:15

Carles Puigdemont, the former leader of Catalonia, under investigation over the Catalan push for independence from Spain, can be extradited on charges of corruption, but not rebellion, the German court hearing his case has ruled, RT reports.

The court agreed to release Mr Puigdemont on bail and said extradition to Spain was possible on the lesser charge of misuse of public funds.

The court however added that concerning the charge of Puigdemont's misusing of public funds, Germany could "theoretically" extradite him to Spain but a decision still has to be made.

Mr Puigdemont entered Germany on his way back from Finland to Belgium, where he had been living in self-imposed exile.

Spain's Constitutional Court established previous year that Catalonia's referendum and subsequent declaration of independence were unconstitutional.

The court said that because Puigdemont can't extradited for rebellion means he posed less of a flight risk and could be released on bail.

It was not immediately clear when Puigdemont would leave the prison in Neumuenster where he has been held since his arrest on March 25. While a flight risk exists, it is lessened by the unfeasibility of the rebellion charges.

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In response to the German court's ruling, a Spanish official said the government in Madid respects judicial decisions "always, when it likes them and when it doesn't".

Two more members of the regional police and an official with the regional interior department were also indicted.

The Spanish government's quelling of the October 1 independence referendum drew worldwide condemnation and outrage, with footage of national police officers and members of the Civil Guardia seizing ballot boxes and violently dispersing voters going viral on social media.

Trapero quit the force [Guardian report] after being demoted last October when the Spanish government suspended the region's autonomy.

Nine other pro-independence figures are now in custody, including six members of Puigdemont's Catalan government and the former president of the Catalan parliament.

Efforts to form a government have been hampered by internal discord within the separatist bloc and the legal challenges faced by presidential candidates.

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