German prosecutor seeks Carles Puigdemont extradition

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A German public prosecutor has applied for an extradition warrant for former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, now in detention in Germany, starting the process of returning him to Spain to face charges of rebellion.

"Carles Puigdemont and his lawyers are confident there will be an independent and appropriate assessment by the regional high court to which they will present detailed objections to the extradition", his lawyer, Till Dunckel, said in a statement.

Mr Puigdemont has been held in Germany since being arrested last week on an global warrant issued by Spain.

The prosecutors said: 'The accusation of rebellion contains at its core the allegation of carrying out an unconstitutional referendum despite expectations of violent disturbances'.

They have 60 days to make a decision.

There is no direct equivalent in German law, but prosecutors told the court yesterday they believed it equated to the German crime of treason.

"Word-for-word conformance between the German and Spanish criminal codes is thus not legally required", it said.

The prosecutors also asked that Puigdemont is to remain in jail until the court decides on his charges.

The superior regional court confirmed it had received the prosecutors' request, adding that it was "undetermined when a decision on the application can be expected".

Prosecutors argued that Puigdemont, 55, should be detained as there was a danger he would try to escape. Under EU extradition procedures the German judge will not consider the question of Mr Puigdemont's guilt, which is for a Spanish court to decide.

The German government has rejected calls from Puigdemont's lawyer to get involved.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, speaking during a visit to Algeria, said his country would respect the ruling by the German courts.

However, other German parties have said the extradition is a matter for German courts.

But it maintains that if there was any violence before or on October 1, the day when an independence referendum was held in Catalonia despite a court ban, it was "isolated" and did not justify the rebellion offence. Global arrest warrants are active against four other politicians who fled overseas previous year, including Clara Ponsati, a former Catalan education minister who is fighting extradition from her home in Scotland.

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