Ex-Catalan leader Puigdemont released from German jail on bail

Court rules he could be released on bail pending a decision on his extradition to Spain on Thursday.

Carles Puigdemont German jail
Puigdemont posted bail and left the Nuemuenster prison on Friday [Fabian Bimmer/Reuters]

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has left jail in Germany after a court said he could be released on bail pending a decision on whether he will be extradited to Spain

Puigdemont walked out of the Neumuenster prison on Friday, nearly two weeks after he was arrested while travelling from Finland back to Belgium where he was living in self-imposed exile since Catalonia’s independence referendum last October.

German prosecutors asked a court in Germany to permit the extradition of the former Catalan separatist leader to Spain on Wednesday. 

Prosecutors in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein applied for the extradition after “extensive examination” of the European arrest warrant issued by Spain against him and five other fugitive separatist leaders.

Spain had sought the former president’s extradition under charges of misuse of public funds in relation to Catalonia’s independence declaration, as well as “rebellion” in organising a referendum that Madrid deemed illegal. 

On Thursday, a state court ruled that Puigdemont, 55, could not be extradited for rebellion and denied a request by prosecutors to keep him in jail until a decision on the extradition under charges of misuse of public funds had been reached. 

Puigdemont’s lawyers said they would appeal the order of extradition to a German federal court.

In Spain, Puigdemont has already filed an appeal against a decision to prosecute him, arguing that the rebellion charge against him is unjustified.

His lawyers have also urged the German government to intervene in the case.

German media has reported, however, that Angela Merkel’s government has already decided not to veto any decision made by the court.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies