Puigdemont urges Spain to open negotiations over Catalonia


He said he hoped to return to live in Belgium once the legal process was over in Germany but that he meant to remain in Berlin while proceedings continued.

Puigdemont, granted bail after German judges ruled he could not be extradited on charges of "rebellion" brought by Spain, thanked prison staff as he emerged to cheers and people waving Catalan flags. "But only after the end of the proceedings here in Germany, not before".

He repeated a call for dialogue with the Spanish state and asked the authorities to respect the results of last December's regional elections - which saw the Catalan separatists win a slim majority.

The 55-year-old was detained in Germany on a Spanish arrest warrant as he attempted to drive from Finland to Belgium on 25 March. "It is my residence now until the end of this process".

Puigdemont could still face extradition on the other charge of misuse of public funds.

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In the meantime, Puigdemont, who had to pay 75,000 euros (91,700 dollars) in bail, must remain in Germany, report weekly to police and inform authorities of any change in his address.

"We feel that comments on judges' decisions at this point are not appropriate", he told reporters in the southern Spanish city of Seville.

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".

Puigdemont has been fugitive since Catalonia's bid to seek independence from Spain failed last October.

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A demonstration was planned in the northern German town of Neumünster, where Puigdemont had been held since his detention, against his still-possible extradition.

Barley said it was now up to Spain to prove their embezzlement charges against Puigdemont, which she said "won't be easy".

Ms. Barley claimed that it was now up to Spain to prove that their additional prices against Mr. Puigdemont, which she said "won't even be more easy".

The Spanish Supreme Court is considering appealing to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg on extradition procedures among EU member states.

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