German prosecutors request Puigdemont extradition to Spain

Puigdemont faces up to 25 years behind bars if extradited

A German public prosecutor has applied for an extradition warrant for former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, now in detention in Germany, starting the process of returning him to Spain to face charges of rebellion.

Puigdemont has been held in a detention centre in the northern German town of Neumuenster for just over a week after he was arrested in Germany on March 25th.

Central to the execution of EAWs is whether the charges they contain have an equivalent under local law, and Schleswig prosecutors said the charge of rebellion had a German equivalent - high treason.

They have been ordered to stand trial for rebellion, misuse of public funds and disobeying the state for organising last year's referendum on Catalan independence, which Madrid deemed illegal. But the German government has said it would not interfere or veto any court decision, as this would be considered a "legal affront" by the federal government against the judicial system. Worldwide arrest warrants are active against four other politicians who fled overseas a year ago, including Carla Ponsati, a former Catalan education minister and nationalist leader, who is fighting extradition from her current place of residence in Scotland. "It is in the hands of the courts", a justice ministry spokesman said.

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Schleswig-Holstein's Higher Regional Court will now decide whether to grant the extradition request.

"We are countries that deeply respect the rule of law. and the separation of powers", he said.

But it maintains that if there was any violence before or on October 1, the day when an independence referendum was held in Catalonia despite a court ban, it was "isolated" and did not justify the rebellion offence.

Puigdemont will face charges of rebellion over the's ill-fated independence campaign.

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"If the two criteria are fulfilled - that an extradition does not immediately appear inadmissable and that there is reason for arrest - that is a danger of flight - then the conditions for an arrest warrant are met", she said.

The 85-page appeal, seen by AFP on Monday, asks that the Spanish Supreme Court's "actions" be declared "null" 10 days after Judge Pablo Llarena said 25 Catalan separatist leaders - including Puigdemont - would be prosecuted over the region's secession bid.

The former Catalan leader was arrested late last month, while driving into Germany from Denmark. They all deny any wrongdoing.

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