Germany praises bail decision for ex-Catalan leader

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont greets supporters after he was released on bail from the prison in Neumuenster northern Germany Friday

Germany praises bail decision for ex-Catalan leader

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.

Jordi Sanchez was remanded in custody in October pending charges of sedition over last year's Catalan independence bid.

The court said Thursday that Puigdemont can't be extradited on the main charge Spain is leveling against him, that of rebellion, because the comparable German charge of treason specifies "violence".

She stated that if Spain couldn't prove the allegations of misuse of public funds, "afterward Puigdemont would be a free man in a absolutely free country - notably in Germany".

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

Torrent had earlier proposed Sanchez but the first attempt failed last month when a Spanish judge refused to release Sanchez from custody to attend the vote in the Barcelona-based chamber.

Misuse of public funds carries a sentence of around eight years at Spain, while a rebellion sentence can hit 30 years. Separatist law makers have yet to be ready to produce a new administration after successful a narrow parliamentary majority in a election in December predicted by Mr. Rajoy.

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont makes a renewed call for Spanish authorities to open dialogue over Catalonia's secession claim, a day after he was released from a German prison.

Rajoy's position was not shared by the leading politician of his conservative Popular Party in Catalonia.

Puigdemont was arrested by German police March 25 as he entered the country from Denmark en route to Belgium, where he's been based since making an illegal declaration of independence from Spain previous year.

Mr Puigdemont, who is wanted in Spain for rebellion, must pay bail of €75,000 (£65,500) and report to police once a week.

He has been living in Belgium since fleeing Spain to escape arrest, and has been held at a prison in Neumuenster.

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

A court official in Germany says that former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont's release from prison is conditioned on his remaining in Germany while extradition proceedings continue and reporting to police once a week. Puigdemont can still be extradited on the less serious charge of misuse of funds.

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