German extradition of Puigdemont to Spain

This video says about itself:

Spain: Solidarity march for imprisoned and exiled Catalan politicians

14 July 2018

Over 100,000 people marched in Barcelona on Saturday, to demand the freedom for political prisoners, return of exiles and an end to reprisals by the Spanish state.

The protesters marched through the city, carrying a big banner, reading “Not as prisoners, not as exiles, we want them [Catalan politicians] at home”, as well as numerous Catalan flags.

Heading the crowd was Joaquim Torra, President of the Generalitat of Catalonia. Speaking to the press, he said, “They must be released immediately. We demand from the Spanish state to release the political prisoners, and to allow the immediate return of our exiles.”

Marta Vilalta from the Republican Left of Catalonia party added, “The German justice said that there was no rebellion and no sedition, that there wasn’t violence, so they are truly political prisoners, those who are now in prison.”

The march was organised by grassroots campaigners from Òmnium Cultural, the ANC and the Associacio Catalans pels Drets Civils.

By Alejandro López in Spain:

German court authorises extradition of Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to Spain on embezzlement charges

16 July 2018

The German High Court in Schleswig-Holstein ruled Thursday that former Catalan regional president, Carles Puigdemont, could be extradited to Spain—but only on the lesser charge of embezzlement of public funds.

Meaning using the Catalan government’s own money (not Madrid government money) to have the independence referendum.

The last time a German government extradited a democratically elected head of the Catalan government to Spain was in 1940, when nazi dictator Adolf Hitler handed over Catalan Lluis Companys to his Spanish ally Franco; who had Companys tortured to death.

The German court threw out the charge of “rebellion” requested in Spain’s European Arrest Warrant (EAW), arguing that “violent clashes with the Civil Guards or the National Police

caused by these the Civil Guards and National Police, not by peaceful people wanting to vote.

did not reach a point where the constitutional order was under threat in Spain.”

A court spokesperson said, “The court decided this morning that an extradition due to the accusation of misuse of public funds is permissible. Therefore, the court rejected the German state prosecutor’s argument that the Spanish charge of ‘rebellion’, which according to Spain’s penal code may apply only to those who ‘violently and publicly’ try to ‘abrogate, suspend or modify the Constitution, either totally or partially’, could be equated with the German penal code’s charge of ‘high treason.’”

Puigdemont still faces up to 12 years in prison if extradited and convicted of embezzlement in Spain. His lawyer has announced an appeal to the German Constitutional Court on the grounds that the former regional president cannot not receive a fair trial at home.

On Saturday, a 100,000-strong demonstration was held in Barcelona called by the nationalist organisations Òmnium Cultural and Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and attended by leaders from all the Catalan nationalist parties and … Catalunya en Comú-Podem [“Catalonia in Common–We Can”. This party advocated abstention at the independence referendum]. Under the slogan “No Jail, Nor Exile, we want you back home”, the march demanded freedom for the eleven secessionist leaders still held in custody in Spain on rebellion charges for their part in last year’s declaration of independence and for Puigdemont and other former ministers to be allowed to return without fear of reprisals.

The new Catalan president, Quim Torra, told the protestors that the court decision proved that the accusation of rebellion was a “fictional story” and that the independence movement “will come out again and again until the prisoners and ‘exiles’ return home.”

In Spain, the Supreme Court has yet to respond. If it rejects the ruling, Puigdemont would be free in Germany (but facing arrest if he leaves that country, as the warrant remains in effect elsewhere in Europe). If the Supreme Court accepts the ruling, it would throw into confusion the fate of the imprisoned secessionist leaders. Their lawyers have now called for their release, insisting that the decision of the German court “should have an impact.”

Puigdemont declared the court ruling a victory. He tweeted, “We have defeated the main lie upheld by the state [Spain]. German justice denies that the referendum on October 1 was rebellion”, adding, “Every minute spent by our colleagues in prison is a minute of shame and injustice. We will fight to the end, and we will win!”

In Germany, the press concluded much the same as Puigdemont. The Frankfürter Allgemeine Zeitung declared, “Puigdemont triumphs—a little.” Der Spiegel pointed out the “strange” anomaly created whereby Puigdemont could not be judged on the same charges as those imprisoned in Spain, while the Süddeutsche Zeitung warned that Germany had become “involuntarily an actor in the conflict in Catalonia, in which the German government had largely stayed on the sidelines.”

In Spain, the newly installed minority Socialist Party (PSOE) government announced it would abide by the ruling, although it is a clear rebuke to the line the party has pursued in the Catalan crisis. In October last year, the PSOE supported the right-wing Popular Party (PP) government’s crushing of the referendum in Catalonia, leaving 1,000 protestors injured, the imposition of an unelected government in the region and the arrest of the Catalan nationalists.

Reacting to the German ruling, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said “the important thing in terms of Spanish justice” was that those involved in the independence bid last year “are judged by the Spanish courts.” He added that the situation in Catalonia needed “much dedication” and patience and “will not be resolved in a day, two months or five months.”

To that end, on Monday, Sánchez and Torra agreed to relaunch bilateral committees between the two governments, which have been inactive for the past seven years. Negotiations are also taking place on Catalonia being granted greater control over its financing, railroad and airport facilities.

The separatist parties—Puigdemont’s Together for Catalonia (JxC) and Catalan Republican Left (ERC)—have in practice abandoned unilateral independence and are seeking to strike a deal with Madrid that will result in greater regional powers. These forces agree that though there is no Catalan state yet, running day-to-day affairs in this way would be good because it constitutes “making a republic.”

One of Torra’s main demands is the reinstatement of over a dozen Catalan laws suspended by the Constitutional Court on the instigation of the former PP government. “We’re ready to lift the vetoes on those laws”, said PSOE Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo, while warning against any attempts to resurrect the independence process.

While Torra celebrated the German court ruling and demanded freedom for the political prisoners “now more than ever”, Spain’s main [righ-wing] opposition parties, the PP and Citizens, and the Madrid-based media reacted furiously.

PP spokesperson in the European Parliament, Esteban González Pons, urged Sánchez to “suspend the application of the Schengen Treaty in Spain as many other countries of the [European] Union have done, until we clarify whether the EAW serves for something or does not serve at all.”

Citizens leader Albert Rivera also attacked the EAW, saying it was “regrettable” that it seemed to be “an instrument for the benefit of fugitives.” He welcomed as “good news” the ruling that Puigdemont could be extradited for embezzlement, because he would have to “face” Spanish justice and “pay” for spending public money on a “coup d’état.”

The pro-PSOE daily El País celebrated the fact that Puigdemont would be jailed if he were extradited, but declared, “The truth is that the German decision places the Spanish judicial system in a blind alley.”

The newspaper commented that if the Spanish courts “surrender” and accept the ruling, “it will be impossible to apply the principle of legal equality, since the prisoners of the [independence] process will be judged for rebellion, while the former regional premier, charged for the same cause, would be judged for a misdemeanor of embezzlement.”

The right-wing El Español appealed to Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena to reject the extradition with “the firm idea that the fugitive should be judged on rebellion.”

It warned that the ruling “gives oxygen to the jailed coup plotters and helps to weaken the accusation against the pro-independence activists. All this at a very delicate moment, with a weak government in Spain that may be tempted to use this ruling … to promote detente with the Catalan government.”

The only national party to welcome the ruling was Podemos. Elisenda Alamany, spokesperson for Catalunya en Comú-Podem, asked Spain’s prosecutor to “withdraw” the charges of rebellion against Puigdemont leader because they “no longer hold up.” Alamany insisted that the judicialisation of politics “brings no solution.”

PUIGDEMONT WARRANT DROPPED Spanish authorities have dropped a European arrest warrant for former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont over his part in last year’s independence referendum. [CNN]

Yesterday, the Spanish Supreme Court abandoned its attempts to secure the extradition of deposed Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont from Germany back to Spain. … The PP backed far-right anti-Catalan protests singing the “Cara al Sol” anthem of former fascist dictator Francisco Franco and threatened Puigdemont with the fate of Catalan regional President Lluís Companys, whom Franco had shot [after Hitler extradited him]. Army chief General Fernando Alejandro identified Catalonia as a military threat to Spain: here.

3 thoughts on “German extradition of Puigdemont to Spain

  1. EUROPE: Ex-Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said yesterday he will head back to Belgium to try to raise support for Catalan self-determination.

    He’ll return from Germany, following Spain’s withdrawal of an arrest warrant for him and other former Catalan officials last week.

    A German court had agreed to extradite him to Spain for misuse of public funds but not on a charge of rebellion, when the warrants were withdrawn.


  2. Pingback: Spain’s Popular Party, from conservative to far-right | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Franco fascism in 21st century Spanish army | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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