German prosecutors request Puigdemont extradition to Spain

05 April, 2018, 01:45 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Pro-Catalan protesters in Berlin at the weekend

In their statement, the prosecutors said Spain's request for extradition was valid as the charges had equivalents in German law.

Initially, the court will decide on whether to issue an extradition arrest warrant.

Puigdemont, 55, is facing charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds, similar to those levelled against University of St Andrews academic Clara Ponsati, who was Catalan education minister before she and other sacked ministers fled Catalonia following the parliament's unilateral declaration of independence.

They noted that during a meeting with police on September 28, Mr Puigdemont was warned that violence might escalate on the day of the October 1 referendum, but his government went through with it anyway.

Prosecutors in the state of Schleswig-Holstein said Spain's extradition request was admissible because accusations of rebellion included carrying out an anti-constitutional referendum which could cause violent clashes.

"A word-by-word match between the German and Spanish regulations is not necessary".

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They said the Spanish charge of misuse of public money - for an unconstitutional referendum - could also be punished in Germany.

The prosecutors also asked that Puigdemont is to remain in jail until the court decides on his charges.

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.

The superior regional court confirmed it had received the prosecutors' request, adding that it was "undetermined when a decision on the application can be expected".

"We are countries that deeply respect the rule of law. and the separation of powers", he said. Any extradition will also have to be approved by the German government, which can block it on political grounds.

"Now the extradition process begins and that is what we were expecting, the court will now have to speak out". Worldwide arrest warrants are active against four other politicians who fled overseas past year, including Clara Ponsati, a former Catalan education minister who is fighting extradition from her home in Scotland. Puigdemont was detained upon entering Germany, on his way back to Belgium, after a visit to Finland. "The Catalonia conflict should be solved politically instead of further criminalising those involved in it". "It is in the hands of the courts", a justice ministry spokesman said.

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