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A German court has released Catalan president Carles Puigdemont on bail and rejected the charge of rebellion. The Higher Regional Court of Schleswig-Holstein, in the north of the country, has declined to extradite him on the charge of rebellion, the most serious included in Spain's extradition request. The court has freed him on bail of 75,000€ (£65,600, $91,700) as they study the charge of misuse of public funds.

In a statement, the Schleswig-Holstein judge explains he will only consider the request for extradition for misuse of public funds, as he believes there was no violence in Catalonia, required in the definition of rebellion. If the president is only extradited for misuse of public funds, that is the only crime he could be tried for in Spain.

Germany doesn't see violence

It still remains to be seen whether the judge will accept his extradition for misuse of public funds. According to the judge's statement, they need to "clarify more facts and obtain more information" to come to a decision on that. For rebellion, however, they don't want more information - they are clear it didn't take place because they do not believe there was any violence.

For an action to be considered violence in Germany, the judge writes, needs "such pressure on the constitutional body (...) to bend the will of the constitutional body". Whilst they accept there was violence on the 1st October, they believe its "nature, scope and effect" do not meet the criteria defined in law.

The judge has ruled that the charge of rebellion is "inadmissible", but that misuse of public funds, equated with corruption in German law, is not to be immediately discounted, so extradition hearings will go ahead.

Although the judge believes the president still poses a flight risk, they think this is considerably reduced upon declining to consider the charge of rebellion, so they agree to release him on bail of 75,000€.

According to their statement, in terms of the charge of rebellion, "the behaviour alleged against the defendant would not be punishable in the Federal Republic of Germany under the prevailing law". Specifically, the comparable charge in German law, that of "high treason", cannot apply due to the lack of violence.

No option to appeal

According to sources from Spain's public prosecution service, it seems there is no option to appeal the German judge's decision, although they say they need to wait until they formally receive the decision and are able to study it.

One option is that the judge who issued the order, Pablo Llarena of Spain's Supreme Court, could withdraw the warrant to avoid Puigdemont only being put on trial for the lesser crime. He has already withdrawn one warrant last December for this reason. Whilst misuse of public funds can carry a sentence of two to six years in prison, rebellion carries up to thirty years.

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