Catalan ex-leader Carles Puigdemont plans return to Belgium

by Leslie Wood April 8, 2018, 1:39
Catalan ex-leader Carles Puigdemont plans return to Belgium

Carles Puigdemont, former president of Catalonia, was among those charged; on request from Spain, he was arrested in Germany and may face extradition.

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has made a renewed call for Spanish authorities to open negotiations over the region's secession bid.

"I hope the situation could help".

Puigdemont was detained on a European arrest warrant after entering Germany on March 25.

The separatist leader also said he wanted to return to Belgium at the end of German legal proceedings.

Puigdemont is expected to speak at noon (1000 GMT) at Aquarium, a former pet store that is now a refugee advocacy centre in a primarily residential part of Berlin's Kreuzberg district.

He has been living in Belgium since fleeing Spain to escape arrest, and has been held at a prison in Neumuenster.

She stated that if Spain couldn't prove the allegations of misuse of public funds, "afterward Puigdemont would be a free man in a absolutely free country - notably in Germany".

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TRT World spoke with Barcelona-based journalist Marah Rayan for more details.

The Spanish government accuses him of "rebellion" and misuse of public funds for organizing an illegal independence referendum in Catalonia in October.

In the meantime, Puigdemont, who had to pay 75,000 euros (91,700 dollars) in bail, must remain in Germany, report weekly to police and inform authorities of any change in his address.

The court said Thursday that Puigdemont can't be extradited on the main charge Spain is leveling against him, that of rebellion, because the comparable German charge of treason specifies "violence".

"We feel that comments on judges' decisions at this point are not appropriate", he told reporters in the southern Spanish city of Seville. Puigdemont can still be extradited on the less serious charge of misuse of funds.

He also called on the Spanish government to "respect democracy" and global treaties in its treatment of the region and its politicians.

Rajoy says on Saturday that his government upholds and abides by court rulings in Spain and elsewhere.

Spain's Supreme Court reactivated worldwide arrest warrants last month for Puigdemont and four other Catalan politicians who went into self-imposed exile previous year.


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