Ex-Catalan leader pens open letter from prison

Catalan regional police chief Josep Luis Trapero attends a press conference in Barcelona Spain. The former chief of Catalonia’s regional police and other regional security officials have been charged wit

Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont can be released on bail pending a decision on his extradition to Spain, a German court announced Thursday.

If extradited only on the charge of misusing public funds, Puigdemont can not be prosecuted in Spain on the more serious charge of rebellion.

Puigdemont was imprisoned in Neumünster after being arrested at his entry to Germany through the border with Denmark, following an order given by the court of that city to keep him in prison and avoid his escape.

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".

It was not immediately clear when Puigdemont would leave the prison in Neumuenster where he has been held since his arrest on March 25. The charge of rebellion is totally invalid.

"Puigdemont's Barcelona-based lawyer Jaime Alonso-Cuevillas tweeted: "[Puigdemont] always said that he had full confidence in the German judiciary".

Nevertheless, Puigdemont's defence team were "very happy for our client" that the "outrageous" charge of rebellion had been set aside, Dunckel said.

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It ordered the release of former Catalan leader on bail at €75,000 ($91,786).

Judge Carmen Lamela of the National Court, which deals with high-profile political and financial cases, said in her ruling there was evidence that former Mossos d'Esquadra chief Josep Lluis Trapero was part of a "criminal organisation" that sought to break Catalonia away from Spain.

He then came under pressure when central authorities urged the regional police to stop the October 1 referendum banned by Spanish courts.

Spain's central government dismissed Trapero on October 28, a day after it imposed direct control on the region over its independence bid.

Regional newspaper Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung reported that the politician would also have to report to the police every week and would not be allowed to leave Germany without prosecutors' consent.

Catalonia has been without a president or regional government since a regional election in December which produced a slim majority of pro-independence lawmakers in the Catalan parliament.

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