BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on Catalonia’s bid to secede from Spain (all times local):
Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has made a renewed call for Spanish authorities to open negotiations over the region’s secession bid.
Puigdemont, who was released on bail from a German prison Friday, says he hopes a German court’s decision to not extradite him to Spain on charges of rebellion shows that “dialogue is needed” to defuse the political conflict in his home country.
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 last year.
Puigdemont was detained on a European arrest warrant after entering Germany on March 25. He was trying to drive from Finland to Belgium, where he had been living since fleeing to escape arrest in Spain.
Germany’s justice minister has applauded a court’s decision to free former Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont on bail, two weeks after his arrest in Germany.
Katarina Barley told daily Sueddeutsche on Saturday the judges’ decision was “absolutely right” and what she’d expected.
Spain is seeking Puigdemont’s extradition for rebellion and misuse of public funds in organizing an unauthorized referendum last year on Catalonia’s independence from Spain.
The German court decided the charge of rebellion did not warrant extradition, because the accusation isn’t punishable under German law. Puigdemont can still be extradited on the less serious charge of misuse of funds.
Barley said it was now up to Spain to prove their embezzlement charges against Puigdemont, which she said “won’t be easy.”