German court: Catalan politician can legally be extradited

The more serious charge of rebellion is not recognised under German law which means that Spain would not be able to try Mr Puigdemont on this charge

A spokeswoman for the Schleswig Holstein court said: "The court decided this morning that an extradition due to the accusation of misuse of public funds is permissible".

Sanchez also said he respected judicial decisions on the former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, whether issued from Germany, Belgium or Spain, after a German court said it would extradite him on the charge of misusing public funds.

Puigdemont has been in Germany after fleeing Spain for Belgium a year ago in the wake of the unilateral declaration of independence passed by the Catalan regional government.

The court thus rejected the German state prosecutor's argument that the Spanish charge of "rebellion" could be equated with the German penal code's charge of "high treason".

The Spanish government rejects Catalan independence.

The charge of misuse of public funds carries a maximum prison sentence of eight years while the more serious charge of rebellion, faced by many of Puigdemont's former cabinet, could put him in prison for up to 30 years.

The court has not made a decision to impose any precautionary measures on Puigdemont, meaning that he remains a free man.

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German state prosecutors still have to formally decide on the extradition request, but said in a statement that they would do so "soon" and did not plan on appealing the ruling.

"The accusations against Puigdemont are not equivalent to a crime of high treason and the disturbance of public order under German law", the statement from the German court added.

The court has not chose to impose any precautionary measures on Puigdemont, meaning that he remains a free man. However, the court will do so only on the charges of misuse of public funds that the Spanish authorities have filed against him, and not for the crime of rebellion.

"Catalan political prisoners should be freed NOW", he said.

"We will fight to the end, and we will win", tweeted Puigdemont who is wanted by Spain over his role in Catalonia's failed independence bid in October.

"This demonstrates once again the mistakes and lies behind a legal case which should never have been opened".

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