Monday, 22 October, 2018

Puigdemont urges Spain to open negotiations over Catalonia

More news Nobel Prize-awarding Swedish Academy stunned by mass defection More news Nobel Prize-awarding Swedish Academy stunned by mass defection
Lisa Bryan | 09 April, 2018, 01:09

"The time for dialogue has arrived", he declared, condemning the "violent and repressive response" the push for secession has received from the Spanish government.

Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said on Saturday he hoped to live in Belgium once legal proceedings are concluded in Germany, where he was released on bail on Friday, Reuters reported.Catalonia's former leader Carles Puigdemont addresses a news conference in Berlin, Germany, April 7, 2018. A German court refused to extradite him on charges on rebellion, but is considering Spain's request to extradite him on the lesser charge of misuse of funds.

Spanish authorities had issued an arrest warrant against Puigdemont for his involvement in a controversial Catalan independence referendum.

Puigdemont, granted bail after German judges ruled he could not be extradited on charges of "rebellion" brought by Spain, thanked prison staff as he emerged to cheers and people waving Catalan flags.

A smiling Puigdemont emerged into the sunshine from the prison in Neumuenster, where he has been held for almost two weeks, thanking staff "for their professionality and for their respect" and the inmates for "their solidarity and help for me to adapt quickly to the situation".

Mendez de Vigo told reporters that the government respects Spanish and German court decisions and doesn't interfere in their rulings. He had been there since March 25, when he was arrested crossing the border from Denmark.

Puigdemont can still be extradited on the less serious charge of misuse of funds to hold Catalonia's banned independence referendum previous year.


"My wish is to return to Belgium". Puigdemont can still be extradited on the less serious charge of misuse of funds. He was trying to drive from Finland to Belgium, where he had been living since fleeing to escape arrest in Spain.

Barley said it was now up to Spain to prove their embezzlement charges against Puigdemont, which she said "won't be easy".

German Justice Minister Katarina Barley has praised the court's decision, telling the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Saturday that the judges' decision was "absolutely right".

The Spanish Supreme Court is considering appealing to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg on extradition procedures among EU member states.

She said that if Spain couldn't prove the allegations of misuse of public funds, "then Puigdemont will be a free man in a free country namely in Germany".

Puigdemont's lawyer, Wolfgang Schomburg, said he was confident of convincing the court not to allow his client's extradition on the misuse of funds charges.

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