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The Schlewsig-Holstein court in Germany has freed deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont on bail. The judiciary has also rejected the charges of rebellion, related to the German crimes of high treason, due to lack of violence. The judge presiding over the German court has requested “more information” to the Spanish justice on the charge of misuse of public funds before accepting to process the extradition request against Puigdemont.
Meanwhile, the Spanish prosecutor has stated that there is “no possibility to appeal” the German court’s decision to release Puigdemont, and reject his extradition for rebellion. The bail for the deposed Catalan president was set at €75,000. Through paying this, the German judge has ruled that Puigdemont must not be held in custody while a final decision is made on his extradition, a process which could take up to three months.
In a public document, the German judge overseeing the case notes that, a priori, the charge of misuse of public funds “does not initially seem inadmissible”, but he believes that it’s necessary to “clarify more facts and obtain more information.” The Schlewsig-Holstein court further states that it is impartial, and is not aware of there being “political persecution” against Puigdemont. As the charges of rebellion were rejected, the judicial entity additionally writes that the “flight risk” for Puigdemont has “significantly” dropped, and therefore, “such drastic measures” as pre-trial prison are not necessary.
A reactivated arrest warrant
Carles Puigdemont has been held in custody in Neumünster since March 25, when he was detained by German police. This was in response to a European Arrest Warrant that the Spanish judiciary reissued against the Catalan leader along with other Catalan officials abroad.
When he was apprehended, Puigdemont was traveling through the country, returning back to Belgium, where he resides. He had previously been in Finland, where he had been invited to speak by a local MP. The four individuals traveling with him are also currently being investigated for aiding and abetting.
This is in fact not the first time a European Arrest Warrant has been issued against the Catalan leader. In November 2017, shortly after he went to Belgium following a declaration of independence in Catalonia, the Spanish judiciary issued a European warrant for his arrest which was ultimately withdrawn by Spain itself.