Catalonia’s Puigdemont set for bail in Germany

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Catalonia's ousted leader Carles Puigdemont leaves the detention centre (Justizvollzugsanstalt, JVA) of Neumuenster, northern Germany, on April 6, 2108 after judges refused his extradition to Spain on a rebellion charge and ordered him freed on bail pending a ruling on a lesser corruption charge. A German court on April 5, 2018 refused a request from Spain to extradite Puigdemont on a rebellion charge following his arrest in Germany last month, and ordered his release on bail pending a hearing on a lesser charge. / AFP PHOTO / Patrik STOLLARZ

NEUMüNSTER: Puigdemont’s lawyers have appealed in Spain against the ‘rebellion’ charge, highlighting that he was not involved in violence.

Public opinion in Spain is divided on whether the referendum constituted a “violent uprising” as laid out in law.

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 15 in Barcelona.

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

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

Puigdemont and six political allies escaped Spanish authorities in an attempt to ‘internationalise’ their plight by dragging other European Union countries into the row.

A Belgian judge on Thursday bailed three of the four former Catalan ministers who fled to Belgium with him after they handed themselves in to police there.

Spain wants the trio — Meritxell Serret, Antoni Comin, Lluis Puig — to face charges of rebellion, misuse of public funds and disobeying the state.

Nine other pro-independence figures are currently in custody in Spain, including six members of Puigdemont’s Catalan government and the former president of the Catalan parliament.