Germany drops Puigdemont extradition case after arrest warrant withdrawn by Spain

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 20.07.2018 16:22
Updated 20.07.2018 16:28
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont gives a speech at the Palau de la Generalitat, the regional government headquarters in Barcelona, Spain, October 21, 2017. (Reuters Photo)
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont gives a speech at the Palau de la Generalitat, the regional government headquarters in Barcelona, Spain, October 21, 2017. (Reuters Photo)

A court in Germany formally ended extradition proceedings against former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont on Friday after Spain withdrew a European arrest warrant, leaving the separatist leader free to leave the country.

The state court in Schleswig revoked a German warrant putting Puigdemont in pre-extradition detention that was issued after his arrest in March. Puigdemont has been free on bail for most of the time since then, but had to report regularly to German police and wasn't allowed to leave the country without prosecutors' permission.

The Catalan politician fled Spain after playing a key role in last October's unilateral declaration of independence by Catalonia's separatist-led parliament.

He was arrested just south of Germany's border with Denmark as he traveled by car from Finland to Belgium.

A German court recently decided that Puigdemont could be extradited to Spain to face charges of misuse of public funds, but it rejected the more serious charge of rebellion brought forth by Spanish prosecutors.

As a result of the German court's ruling, Spanish prosecutors would no longer be able to pursue the rebellion charge - which carries a maximum of 30 years in prison - against Puigdemont were he to be extradited back to Spain.

On Thursday, a Spanish Supreme Court judge dropped extradition requests for Puigdemont and five other politicians wanted on rebellion charges for promoting independence for Catalonia.

Puigdemont is believed to be living in Hamburg. He has said he wants to return to Belgium.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter