Few European leaders divide opinion as much as Carles Puigdemont.
Last September the Catalonian leader stood in front of the world’s media and declared independence for the region was inevitable.
Six months later he was arrested in Germany.
Those opposed to a political refugee being arrested prompted calls for the EU to intervene. There was much posturing and calls for ‘constructive dialogue,’ ultimately the EU achieved nothing.
It was instead Puigdemont’s lawyers who intervened, giving the exile a chance to avoid the fall wrath of Madrid.
“A German court has ruled that former Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont can be released on bail pending an extradition decision.
The independence leader may still be extradited to Spain based on corruption charges, but not on the more serious charge of rebellion. The court set bail at 75,000 euros,” read a statement from the legal team.
The announcement from the court is a victory for Puigdemont’s lawyers, who had filed an appeal with German authorities stating that the charge of rebellion was unjustified because the instances of violence in the lead up to the referendum last October were relatively isolated. The crime carries a sentence of up to 30 years in Spain.
Under the EU’s ‘double criminality’ regulations, the country which receives the request for extradition must find a comparable crime within its own legal system. In this particular case, the charge of ‘misuse of funds’ has an equivalent in the German penal code, however, the Spanish conception of ‘rebellion’ does not.