Ex-Catalan leader freed on bail by German court

Hannah Rogers
April 6, 2018

Spanish authorities accuse Puigdemont of rebellion and misuse of public funds in organising an unauthorised referendum past year on the region's secession.

The closest offence in German law is high treason - however the accused person's actions would have to include a violent element for the charge to be applicable. German law calls for prison sentences for anyone who "undertakes, by force or through threat of force" to undermine the republic's existence or change its constitutional order. While a flight risk exists, it is lessened by the unfeasibility of the rebellion charges. Two other members of the regional police and an official with the regional interior department were also indicted.

The court also made a decision to rule out the charge of rebellion, which Spain had included in the extradition request. "This political persecution has to end it is as it is driven by completely false narrative".

In the mean-time, the court set bail at €75,000.

Puigdemont's German lawyer said the separatist politician was arranging the transfer of the bail money to Germany.

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The official, who spoke under customary anonymity, said "Spanish justice will adopt the appropriate measures in the face of these new circumstances".

The Spanish government says it can't assess the decision by a German court to release on bail the former Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont until it has more details about the ruling - but is vowing to respect it. "We are totally happy and we'll celebrate it".

He has been a fugitive since Catalonia's failed bid to become independent from Spain last October.

Judge Carmen Lamela of Spain's National Court [official website, in Spanish] on Wednesday charged [charges, PDF, in Spanish] the former Catalan chief of police, Josep Lluís Trapero, with sedition [penal code, in Spanish] for his role in the 2017 independence referendum [JURIST report].

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