German prosecutor seeks ex-Catalan leader Puigdemont's extradition

German prosecutors said Tuesday they are seeking the extradition of former Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont to Spain, where he could face trial for his role in organising an independence referendum.

Prosecutors in the state of Schleswig-Holstein said in a statement the accusation of rebellion included carrying out an anti-constitutional referendum even though violent clashes could be expected.

The decision was based on the fact that the charges Puigdemont faces have equivalents under German law, which is a requirement for a European arrest warrant to be carried out.

The ousted Catalan president was arrested last month in Germany as he crossed into the country by vehicle.

Puigdemont is being charged in Spain with rebellion and misuse of public funds, for his involvement in the Catalan independence referendum of October 2017. No date for the decision was announced and Puigdemont will stay in jail for now.

If the court agrees to the request, prosecutors would still need to issue an order signing off on Mr Puigdemont's extradition.

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The former leader is being held at a detention center in Neumuenster following his arrest more than a week ago.

It remains unclear at this point, whether German judicial authorities will pursue this line of legal reasoning further or focus on the charge of "rebellion".

It also argues that there were several procedural violations made in the case against the three politicians, including that they were not allowed to defend themselves until the indictment against them was issued on March 23. She declined to put a time on its decision, but said she did not expect it to take months.

In a first step, the court will assess whether to accept the formal application by the state chief public prosecution office to place the suspect in extradition custody on the basis of evidence provided by Madrid.

The Spanish court aims to try a total of 25 Catalan leaders for rebellion and other charges. They all deny any wrongdoing. Spain denies this and says their actions violated the Spanish constitution.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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