German court: Catalan politician can legally be extradited - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

German court: Catalan politician can legally be extradited

By DAVID RISING
Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) - A German court on Thursday removed a hurdle to the extradition of a prominent Catalan politician on charges of embezzlement, setting the stage for a possible trial in Spain but on lesser charges than prosecutors there had hoped for.

In its decision in the case of Carles Puigdemont, the Schleswig-Holstein state court said the former Catalan leader could be extradited on embezzlement charges, but not rebellion.

The charge of rebellion is not recognized in Germany and the court said related German statutes such as that against treason did not apply, because his actions "did not rise to this kind of violence."

The charges are in connection with the Catalan regional government's unauthorized referendum last year on independence from Spain and a subsequent unilateral declaration of independence by the separatist-controlled regional parliament.

The Spanish government rejects Catalan independence.

Puigdemont hailed the decision as a victory, tweeting "we have defeated the central lie of the (Spanish) state. German justice denies that the referendum of October 1 was rebellion."

The decision means that if he is extradited, Puigdemont can only stand trial in Spain on embezzlement charges over allegations he misused public funds, court spokeswoman Christine von Milczewski said.

Rebellion carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, while misuse of public funds carries up to 12 years.

German state prosecutors told The Associated Press they still would have to formally decide on the extradition request, but said that they would do so "soon" and did not plan on appealing the ruling.

Puigdemont fled Spain to avoid jail and has been living in the German city of Hamburg as he fights extradition. The court said in its ruling that he can remain free.

Puigdemont's press spokesman, Joan Maria Pique, issued a short statement saying that without the rebellion charge the "main Spanish accusation falls."

"Catalan political prisoners should be freed NOW," he said. "He remains free. And there are options to rebut the embezzlement."

Quim Torra, the Catalan region's current president and a fervent separatist, said the dropping of rebellion charges was "wonderful news."

"This demonstrates once again the mistakes and lies behind a legal case which should never have been opened. We will win in Europe," Torra tweeted.

_____

Barry Hatton in Lisbon contributed to this story.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Stranded woman drank water from moss after California crash

    Stranded woman drank water from moss after California crash

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 2:42 AM EDT2018-07-17 06:42:05 GMT
    Tuesday, July 17 2018 3:22 AM EDT2018-07-17 07:22:18 GMT
    (Monterey County Sheriff's Office via AP). In this Friday, July 13, 2018, photo posted on the Monterey County, Calif., Sheriff's Office Twitter feed, authorities tend to Angela Hernandez, foreground center, after she was rescued, in Morro Bay, Calif. A...(Monterey County Sheriff's Office via AP). In this Friday, July 13, 2018, photo posted on the Monterey County, Calif., Sheriff's Office Twitter feed, authorities tend to Angela Hernandez, foreground center, after she was rescued, in Morro Bay, Calif. A...

    A 23-year-old woman survived a 250-foot car plunge off a cliff and a week stranded on a remote California beach after she swerved to avoid a small animal while driving to her sister's house.

    More >>

    A 23-year-old woman survived a 250-foot car plunge off a cliff and a week stranded on a remote California beach after she swerved to avoid a small animal while driving to her sister's house.

    More >>
  • Judge temporarily halts deportation of reunified families

    Judge temporarily halts deportation of reunified families

    Monday, July 16 2018 12:03 PM EDT2018-07-16 16:03:29 GMT
    Tuesday, July 17 2018 3:22 AM EDT2018-07-17 07:22:14 GMT
    The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a federal judge to order the federal government to hold off one week on deporting reunified families that were separated at the border. (Source: Raycom Media, file)The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a federal judge to order the federal government to hold off one week on deporting reunified families that were separated at the border. (Source: Raycom Media, file)

    The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a federal judge to order the federal government to hold off one week on deporting reunified families that were separated at the border.

    More >>

    The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a federal judge to order the federal government to hold off one week on deporting reunified families that were separated at the border.

    More >>
  • Washington Metro workers approve strike amid rising tensions

    Washington Metro workers approve strike amid rising tensions

    Monday, July 16 2018 9:58 AM EDT2018-07-16 13:58:10 GMT
    Tuesday, July 17 2018 3:08 AM EDT2018-07-17 07:08:24 GMT
    After years without a new contract, the Washington Metro's largest union has overwhelmingly authorized a strike, just as thousands of tourists arrive in the nation's capital for this week's Major League Baseball...More >>
    After years without a new contract, the Washington Metro's largest union has overwhelmingly authorized a strike, just as thousands of tourists arrive in the nation's capital for this week's Major League Baseball All-Star Game.More >>
Powered by Frankly