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German court orders Catalan ex-leader's release on bail

AP  |  Madrid 

A ruled today that former Catalan leader Puigdemont can be released on pending a decision on his extradition to Spain, saying the most serious charge Puigdemont faces isn't punishable under German law.

The state court in Schleswig said the 55-year-old ex-of Spain's region could leave a prison in northern with a 75,000-euro ($92,000) payment. It wasn't immediately clear when Puigdemont would be released.

Puigdemont was detained in on a Spanish arrest warrant as he attempted to drive from to on March 25.

He fled to after Spain's removed him from office and a sedition investigation was launched against politicians who led Catalonia's declaration of independence in October.

Spanish authorities accuse Puigdemont of rebellion and misuse of public funds in organizing an unauthorized referendum last year on the region's secession.

German prosecutors argued earlier this week that the main charge of rebellion is equivalent to Germany's criminal offense of treason. German law calls for prison sentences for anyone who "undertakes, by force or through threat of force" to undermine the republic's existence or change its constitutional order.

However, the court disagreed Thursday, saying

Puigdemont can't be extradited for rebellion. It found that the accusations against Puigdemont don't satisfy the precedents set by previous German rulings, which call for a use or threat of force sufficient to bend the will of authorities.

"That is not the case here," the court said in a statement. The German judges will consider Puigdemont's extradition on the less serious charge of misusing public funds. They said there was no indication he could be "exposed to the danger of political persecution."

The court said that because Puigdemont can't extradited for rebellion means he posed less of a flight risk and could be released on

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 06 2018. 01:00 IST