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German court refuses to extradite Catalonia's Puigdemont

German court refuses to extradite Catalonia's Puigdemont

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.

It ordered the release of former Catalan leader on bail at €75,000 ($91,786).

Catalan parliament president Roger Torrent described Mr Puigdemont's conditional release as "very good news" on Twitter.

Puigdemont was detained in Germany on a Spanish arrest warrant as he attempted to drive from Finland to Belgium on March 25.

The German judges still will consider approving his extradition on a lesser charge of misuse of public funds. It found that the accusations against Puigdemont don't satisfy the precedents set by previous German rulings, which call for a use or threat of force sufficient to bend the will of authorities.

The charge of misuse of public funds remains possible as grounds for extradition, the judges said, but the more serious charge of rebellion was ruled inadmissible as German law deems violence necessary for such an offence to have been committed. They said that there was no indication he could be "exposed to the danger of political persecution".

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But the court ruled out Puigdemont's extradition based on charges of "rebellion", highlighting that it was not compatible with the German law.

According to a statement issued by the Court today, "for legal reasons" extradition for rebellion cannot be accepted as it is established by the Spanish Penal Code, because the charges against him would not be punishable in Germany according to the current laws here.

"We always said that we were not violent".

Asked by Reuters whether the German court was correct to say Puigdemont could not now be put on trial for rebellion, neither the Spanish government nor the Supreme Court would comment.

The Schleswig court considered him to be less of a flight risk because he is being considered for the corruption, not rebellion, charges.

He then came under pressure when central authorities urged the regional police to stop the October 1 referendum banned by Spanish courts. Two other members of the regional police and an official with the regional interior department were also indicted.

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