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Ex-Catalonia Leader Can Be Extradited, however, not on the Charge Spain Wants

Carles Puigdemont in Berlin last month. The German judge said he can end up being extradited to Spain on scams charges. Credit Markus Heine/Shutterstock

MADRID — A German courtroom ruled on Thursday that Catalonia’ s former leader, Carles Puigdemont, can be extradited to Spain, yet only on fraud charges but not for rebellion, the main charge he or she faced in Spain after Catalonia’ h botched declaration of independence this past year.

Your decision is a setback for the Spanish judiciary, which had hoped the German born court would allow Mr. Puigdemont in order to stand trial on a rebellion cost, which carries a maximum prison phrase of 30 years.

Under the lesser charge associated with corruption related to the misuse associated with public money, Mr. Puigdemont can still be sentenced to prison. When such financial crime sentences are usually two years or less, they are usually suspended in Spain for first-time offenders.

Mister. Puigdemont is accused of misusing public money to organize an unlawful independence referendum on Oct. one, when he was president from the restive region. Two dozen additional Catalan politicians are also facing test; some are being held in jail, while a handful of others are fighting extradition.

The German court’ t decision is the latest twist within a complicated legal battle that obtained an international dimension last October, whenever Mr. Puigdemont fled to Belgium to avoid prosecution in Spain, alongside various other members of his former cupboard.

They will left shortly after Madrid used crisis constitutional powers to oust Mister. Puigdemont’ s administration and place Catalonia under direct rule. In Mar, while traveling by car from Finland to Belgium, Mr. Puigdemont had been arrested with the German police with an international arrest warrant issued with a Spanish judge.

In Thursday’ s judgment, the German high court from the state of Schleswig-Holstein also dominated that Mr. Puigdemont did not symbolize a flight risk and therefore really should not be taken into police custody just before being sent back to Spain.

No time has been set for extradition, however it is expected to happen soon, based on Wiebke Hoffelner, a Schleswig-Holstein condition prosecutor.

Mr. Puigdemont could take the hard route of lodging an charm before Germany’ s constitutional courtroom, if his lawyers can persuade the court that his simple human rights were violated. Inside a statement on Thursday, Mr. Puigdemont’ s lawyers said they were taking into consideration how to proceed.

Pablo Llarena, the particular Spanish Supreme Court judge who may be presiding over the trial against Mister. Puigdemont and other Catalan politicians, reports that Spain’ s judiciary can take the case to the European Courtroom of Justice if Germany obstructed Mr. Puigdemont’ s extradition over the charges sought by Madrid. There is no immediate response from Determine Llarena to the German decision.

The court’ s decision is in line having a preliminary judgment in April, which usually found that the rebellion charge could hardly be honored in Germany “ because evidence of ‘ violence’ is just not present. ” Violence is an element of the charge in Spain’ s i9000 legal code.

Since then, however , Spain’ h political landscape has changed considerably. The Socialist government took office within Madrid last month, led simply by Prime Minister Pedro Sá nchez . Their predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, had emphatically opposed Catalonia’ s separatist motion, and moved to block an effort in order to re-elect Mr. Puigdemont as the region’ s leader in May.

Mr. Sá nchez said on Thursday that their government respected judicial decisions. Plus although he did not weigh within on whether extradition on the rebellion charge should also have been allowed, he or she said at a news conference that will Spanish society “ expected individuals involved in the events of the second 1 / 2 of 2017 to be judged by The spanish language courts. ” He added: “ This will happen. ”

Composing on Twitter , Mr. Puigdemont welcomed the decision by the German courtroom to strike down “ the primary lie of the state” by not really recognizing the independence referendum being an act of rebellion.

And Quim Torra , who seem to leads a separatist coalition that will formed a new Catalan regional authorities in June, called the German judgment “ great news. ” He additional: “ Today the fictitious story of the Spanish state has dropped apart. ”

On Monday, Mr. Torra visited This town to meet with Mister. Sá nchez for the first time, an experience that both men described as good. The prime minister had previously promised to “ find a political means to fix a political crisis” and go back to the negotiating table.

Mister. Sá nchez, whose weak Socialist government relies in part on assistance from the Catalan parties, has also permitted the jailed Catalan politicians to become transferred from Madrid to prisons within their region.

In Barcelona, Mr. Torra is also in a fragile position: Their unwieldy coalition of separatist celebrations appears to have run out of politics options after the failed independence hard work.

Mister. Puigdemont’ s return to Spain and also a trial of the main Catalan separatist leaders could potentially prolong a question that has raised broader concerns regarding the rule of law in the Eu. On Thursday, some center-right political figures in Spain questioned the purpose of a Western european arrest warrant if courts in various countries did not apply the same requirements.

Whenever Mr. Puigdemont arrived in Brussels final October, he said his objective was to make Spain’ s territorial conflict an international issue and provide Catalonia into “ the institutional heart associated with Europe , ” as Brussels is home to the most important institutions of the Eu.

Their lawyers said in their statement upon Thursday that Mr. Puigdemont has been only “ being sought meant for criminal prosecution by the Spanish regulators because he enabled a democratic referendum to take place as instructed by their voters. ”

“ We are convinced that will Germany should not play any component in the criminalization of democratic functions of this kind, ” they additional, “ and that it should stay from the highly charged domestic disputes associated with other states. ”

Raphael Minder reported from Madrid, plus Christopher F. Schuetze from Bremen.


NY Times