Germany praises bail decision for ex-Catalan leader

Catalonia's Carles Puigdemont calls on Madrid to 'respect democracy'

Carles Puigdemont, the former president of the government of Catalonia, has urged Spain to allow Catalonia to form their regional government headed by Jordi Sanchez, who is now in prison for rebellion charges in a press conference Saturday.

On Thursday, a German court ruled that he could not be extradited on grounds of rebellion, as the equivalent charge under German law, treason, requires a defendant to have committed violence. The court has concluded that extradition to Spain was not possible on the charge of "rebellion", since it did not see evidence that Puigdemont meant to use force to gain Catalan independence.

Catalan separatist and the former head of the regional government Carles Puigdemont paid bail on Friday, allowing him to walk out of jail after he was arrested last month on a European warrant. Puigdemont can still be extradited on the less serious charge of misuse of funds.

"I hope the situation could help".

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

Ms. Barley claimed that it was now up to Spain to prove that their additional prices against Mr. Puigdemont, which she said "won't even be more easy".

After the election, Catalan lawmakers declared unilateral independence from Spain.

Katarina Barley told daily Sueddeutsche on Saturday the judges' decision was "absolutely right" and what she'd expected.

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

However, Puigdemont may yet face extradition on separate charges of misusing government funds during his time in office.

"No information will be provided about his current whereabouts", said prosecutors in a statement. Several ministers of the former Catalan government were arrested, while Puigdemont fled to Belgium to avoid arrest.

At a press conference, a German government spokeswoman reiterated Berlin's position that it will not interfere in the judicial process, saying: "The proceedings are in the judiciary's hands".

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

Spain is seeking Puigdemont's extradition for rebellion and misuse of public funds in organizing an unauthorized referendum previous year on Catalonia's independence from Spain. Misuse of funds carries a sentence of up to eight years.

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