Catalonia’s Puigdemont set for bail in Germany

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.