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German court refuses call for taking Puigdemont back into custody

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – A court in Germany has rejected a fresh call from prosecutors to have Catalonia’s former President Carles Puigdemont back into custody pending a decision on his extradition to Spain, where he has led a controversial movement for the independence of Catalonia.

The state court in Schleswig said Tuesday it had disagreed and rejected the request by prosecutor to have Puigdemont back in jail based on new information purportedly showing that he had been involved in rebellion activities against the Spanish government.

Prosecutors cited videos provided by Spanish authorities showing violence against police during a campaign led by Puigdemont for Catalonia’s independence last October.

The prosecutors argued in their request to the court that “the disturbances were on such a scale that prosecutors believe that he should also be extradited over the accusation of rebellion.”

They said the charge of rebellion, which has no direct equivalent in the German law, could be comparable to two other offenses, namely treason and breaching the peace.

The prosecutors said Puigdemont had to be arrested because he posed a flight risk.

A court in Schleswig released Puigdemont on April 6, less than two weeks after he had been arrested after crossing into Germany from Denmark. He is wanted on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds in Spain.

The charges were brought against him after he declared Catalonia’s independence in late October last year. The declaration, which was based on results of a controversial referendum earlier that month, prompted Madrid to launch a sweeping crackdown in Catalonia while forcing Puigdemont and four of his ministers to escape into self-exile.

Puigdemont remains free in the German capital of Berlin with certain conditions, including the need for reporting to the police once a week. The Schleswig court which rejected his imprisonment request said the Catalan leader could remain at large as it was not clear when a final decision on his extradition would come.

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