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Puigdemont is allowed to stay in Berlin while case is heard

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Puigdemont is allowed to stay in Berlin while case is heard
Carles Puigdemont (C) sings Catalonia's national anthem after a press conference on April 7, 2018 in Berlin after judges refused his extradition to Spain. Photo: AFP
09:18 CEST+02:00
Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont, who was arrested in Germany on a Spanish extradition request but released on bail last week, was Monday allowed to stay in Berlin while the case is heard.

Puigdemont, who was detained in northern Germany near the Danish border in late March, is now allowed to stay in the German capital, where he must report to police once a week, reported national news agency DPA.

Puigdemont last Friday walked out of a German jail on bail after a regional court rejected extradition to Spain on a charge of rebellion.

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.

READ MORE: Puigdemont walks free from German jail and demands dialogue

But the court is still to decide whether to send the former Catalan president to Spain to face trial for alleged misuse of public funds.   

Puigdemont had to stump up €75,000 ($92,000) bail, keep authorities informed of his whereabouts, report to police weekly, respond to summons from prosecutors or the court, and remain in Germany.

If extradited only for misusing public funds, Puigdemont cannot be prosecuted in Spain on the more serious charge of rebellion under European law.    

The lesser charge relates to the cost of the Catalan independence referendum, estimated at 1.6 million euros by Madrid.    

Catalans mostly reject the rebellion charge, according to opinion polls, with a major demonstration calling for imprisoned separatist leaders to be freed planned for April 15th in Barcelona.

Puigdemont fled to Belgium after being removed from office by the central government in Madrid following a unilateral declaration of independence on October 27th.

He was arrested on March 25th on a highway in northern Germany on the way back from a trip to Finland.

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