Spanish, German prosecutors to discuss Puigdemont case

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Spanish and German prosecutors plan to meet soon in The Hague to discuss Madrid's request to extradite former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont from Germany, officials in both countries said Thursday.

The meeting will take place at the offices of Eurojust, the European Union's judicial agency in Dutch city, a Spanish judicial source told AFP.

It will involve prosecutors from both countries as well as Eurojust officials from both Spain and Germany, the source added.

The meeting could be held on Thursday and/or Friday, according to the source.

In Germany, the spokeswoman for the public prosecutor's office confirmed that "discussions between Spanish authorities and representatives of the Schleswig-Holstein public prosecutor's office are planned shortly in The Hague". She did not provide more details.

The meeting comes after a court in Schleswig-Holstein on April 6 rejected extraditing Puigdemont to Spain on a charge of rebellion over his role in Catalonia's separatist push and released him on bail.

The court ruled that rebellion was not punishable under German law, and that the closest equivalent, high treason, did not apply because Puigdemont's actions were not accompanied by violence.

But the court is still to decide whether to send the former Catalan president, who was detained in northern Germany near the Danish border in late March, to Spain to face trial for alleged misuse of public funds.

The German court's decision was a judicial and political setback for Spain, which has intensified its efforts to defend its arguments in favour of extradition.

A diplomatic source in Madrid said the ruling "taints" Spain's image while Catalan separatists accuse Madrid of using courts against their cause.

European Union Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said Wednesday that Germany had "respected the rules".

Spain's foreign ministry organised a seminar in the Mediterranean port of Alicante on Tuesday with 17 Spanish ambassadors and two Spanish representatives at the European Union of the Puigdemont case.

They received instructions to multiply their efforts to "explain Spain's position", a diplomatic source said.

A second such meeting is planned for May, the source added.


© 2018 AFP

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