Ex-Catalan leader Puigdemont urges dialogue with Spain

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

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

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont called again on the Spanish government to begin negotiations over Catalonia's secession declaration.

Puigdemont's camp was reinvigorated Thursday after the German court declined to consider a Spanish judge's request to have him extradited on rebellion charges.

"My plan is to remain in Berlin, it's my residence now until the end of this process", Mr Puidgemont said on Saturday at a hastily organised news conference in the German capital.

Sanchez's name was originally put forward after former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, living in self-imposed exile in Belgium and wanted in Spain, dropped his candidacy.

Following a referendum last October deemed void and unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court, Spanish authorities arrested then-members of the Catalan Government and leaders of civil society organisations and charged them with rebellion, among other charges.

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". The court upheld an embezzlement charge for Puigdemont.

A demonstration against his still-possible extradition to Spain was also planned in the northern town of Neumuenster, where Puigdemont had been held following his arrest on March 25.

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The High Regional Court of Schleswig-Holstein on April 5, released the ex-president, who was arrested last month on a Spanish-issued warrant as he entered Germany, on a 75,000-euro ($91,700) bail.

Separatist politicians are considering a second attempt to elect Sanchez after being emboldened by a German court's decision not to extradite Puigdemont.

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

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

David Kaye [official profile], the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression urged [press release] Spain on Friday not to press rebellion charges against Catalonian leaders.

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.

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