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Tuesday 22 May 2018

Puigdemont leaves prison in Germany after posting bail

The 55-year-old walked out of Neumuenster jail almost two weeks after he was detained crossing the border from Denmark.

Carles Puigdemont (Carsten Rehder /dpa via AP)
Carles Puigdemont (Carsten Rehder /dpa via AP)

By Associated Press

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has left a German jail after posting a 75,000 euro (£65,000) payment demanded by a court for his release on bail pending extradition proceedings.

The 55-year-old walked out of Neumuenster prison in northern Germany almost two weeks after he was detained crossing the border from Denmark.

Speaking to reporters outside the prison he thanked supporters “all around the world” for their message of solidarity during his time in jail.

Spanish authorities accuse him of rebellion and misuse of public funds in organising an unauthorised referendum last year on Catalonia’s independence from Spain.

Madrid is seeking his extradition under a European arrest warrant.

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Carles Puigdemont gives a press statement after he was released on bail (Axel Heimken/dpa/AP)

Puigdemont called on Spanish authorities to open a dialogue with Catalan politicians, and urged the immediate release of other Catalan separatist leaders being held in Spain.

In a statement in English outside the prison, Puigdemont said “the time for dialogue has arrived” and it is time to “find a political solution”.

He said Catalan leaders have demanded dialogue for six years but have “only received a violent and repressive response”.

He added: “Now, seeing the fall of that response, it’s time to do politics.”

Puigdemont said Madrid has “no excuses” not to talk with Catalan leaders “to find a political solution of our demands, not by criminal law”.

The Schleswig prosecutors’ office said Puigdemont provided authorities with an address in Germany where he will reside pending a decision in his extradition case.

Spain is seeking his extradition for rebellion and misuse of public funds in organising an unauthorised referendum last year on Catalonia’s independence from Spain.

The state court in Schleswig ruled on Thursday that Puigdemont could not be extradited for rebellion because the equivalent German law presumes the use or threat of force sufficient to bend the will of authorities.

He can still be extradited on misuse of funds charges.

The ruling allows Puigdemont to move freely in Germany pending any decision on his extradition.

“No information will be provided about his current whereabouts,” prosecutors said in a statement.

Press Association

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