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Germany court detains exiled Catalonia president pending extradition proceedings
Germany court detains exiled Catalonia president pending extradition proceedings

The Neumünster District Court (Amtsgericht Neumünster) [official website, German] ruled [press release, in German] Monday to detain exiled Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont [profile, in Catalan], pending a decision by the Higher Regional Court.

Puigdemont had declared Catalonia’s independence from Spain in October and after facing charges [JURIST Report] including rebellion, fled to Belgium. Puigdemont had attended a conference in Finland and was attempting to return to Belgium when he was arrested at the border of Denmark and Germany.

The court followed procedure given in Section 22 [text] of the Laws on International Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (IRG) [text, German]. Once Puigdemont was identified as the person referred to in Spain’s extradition request (made from the issuing [JURIST Report] of a European arrest warrant Friday), Section 22 requires that the District Court order to detain him until the Higher Regional Court can rule on his extradition.

In the press release, the judges expressed skepticism around whether the extradition request could be granted under Section 3 [text, German] of the IRG. Section 3 states that an extradition request can only be granted if the act committed is recognized as an illegal act under German law. Technically, German law does not recognize the charge of rebellion and the warrant may only be viewed as enforceable if it contained an offense recognized by German law such as high treason. The court also mentions that this issue may fall under Section 6 [text, German] of the IRG that does not allow extradition for political acts.

Puigdemont will remain in prison in Neumünster until extradition request is decided in the Higher Regional Court.