Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont’s extradition has been accepted by the German court handling his case, but only for misuse of public funds and not rebellion. The Schleswig-Holstein court announced its decision on Thursday morning, rejecting the charge of rebellion as grounds for extradition because there is no equivalent offense in German law.
The court has not ordered Puigdemont be taken into custody. For the moment the former president remains free in Germany and his lawyers will appeal the decision. The court also said that it is now up to the Spanish judiciary to “clarify” the details of the misuse of public funds offense against Puigdemont that is included in the European arrest warrant issued against him. But they execute it without “examining” it in depth as it is one of the crimes listed in the European arrest warrant legislation.
German Constitutional Court
Both the court and the prosecutor in Germany told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that the ruling cannot be appealed by any of the parties involved in the case, although they did not rule out Puigdemont’s defense having the option of challenging the decision in Germany’s Constitutional Court.
According to the judges “there is enough evidence to show that Puigdemont was ultimately responsible” for the Catalan government’s finances. They also believe that the head of the Junts per Catalunya candidacy “was easily able to see that holding a referendum would cost money.”
According to the Schleswig-Holstein court, “there is no evidence that all of the costs” for the October 1 independence referendum “were paid for by third parties.” “The specific questions have to be clarified in Spanish criminal procedure,” they add.
Yet the judges said that the crime of high treason, the equivalent to the Spanish one of rebellion, “is based on a level of violence not reached” during the October 1 referendum.