World

Ex-Catalonia Chief, Free D By German Jail, Demands Talks With Spain

Ex-Catalonia Chief, Free D By German Jail, Demands Talks With Spain

In his press conference, Puigdemont called for global mediation and talks over the future of Catalonia, saying Spanish government should have "respect for democracy". "If possible I would return to Belgium", Puigdemont made the remarks in the German capital a day after he was released from the Neumunster prison.

A smiling Puigdemont emerged into the sunshine from the prison in Neumuenster, where he has been held for almost two weeks, thanking staff "for their professionality and for their respect" and the inmates for "their solidarity and help for me to adapt quickly to the situation".

The speaker of Catalonia's regional parliament has again put forward a jailed separatist activist to be elected as the northeast Spanish region's new leader.

"My wish is to return to Belgium".

"This opens a new opportunity of dialogue".

Mr. Puigdemont, " fifty five, told reporters he would remain in Berlin until his extradition case is concluded. "It is my residence now until the end of this process", he said.

On March 23, Spanish Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena initiated a European arrest warrant for 25 Catalan politicians, including Puigdemont, regarding the illegitimate Catalan independence referendum of 2017.

A German court is deciding whether Puigdemont should be extradited on the lesser charge of misuse of public funds to hold a banned referendum on independence for Catalonia past year.

TRT World spoke with Barcelona-based journalist Marah Rayan for more details.

Germany Justice Minister Katarina Barley applauded the court's decision to free Puigdemont on bail as "absolutely right" and what she had expected.

A German court is deciding whether Puigdemont should be extradited on the lesser charge of misuse of public funds to hold a banned referendum on independence for Catalonia past year.

The German court decided the charge of rebellion did not warrant extradition, because the accusation isn't punishable under German law.

After walking out of jail, Puigdemont called for the release of so-called political prisoners in Spain, notably those who were arrested for their involvement in the Catalan independence referendum.

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

"The time for dialogue has arrived", he declared, condemning the "violent and repressive response" the push for secession has received from the Spanish government.

A Spanish Supreme Court spokeswoman said the magistrate investigating the Catalan separatists' secession attempt is considering consulting the European Court of Justice on whether the German court followed EU procedures for extradition.


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