The Higher Regional Court of Schleswig-Holstein has maintained its rejection of considering the charge of rebellion in the extradition proceedings against president Carles Puigdemont. In a decision taken this Tuesday, the court upholds its position from 5th April that Puigdemont's extradition for rebellion was "inadmissable from the outset". It was responding to a petition from prosecutors from 9th May for him to be taken back into custody.
The court's decision was announced this afternoon through an expanded version of a statement released this morning saying they would not be imprisoning him again. Not only do they believe that there are no reasons to imprison the president in exile, they do not believe the new "evidence" provided by the Spanish judge leading the investigation.
On 5th April, Puigdemont was released on bail of 75,000€ (£66,000, $88,000), whilst the judges consider his extradition for the charge of misuse of public funds. A Spanish court had asked for his extradition for the two charges, rebellion and misuse of public funds, over his involved in the independence process.
Prosecutors ask for prison
German prosecutors, with new information received from Spain, presented a new request for the president's arrest on 9th May. In the filing, prosecutors said the president should be taken into custody again, arguing that the possibility of his extradition for rebellion would increase the flight risk he poses.
The German judges, however, rejected this application, saying that the new information gives no reason to bring back the charge of rebellion: "from the court's point of view, in the framework of the independence process there has been in neither the evidence collected, nor the legal evaluation of the facts, a significant change which would lead to a change of the position reflected in the decision on 5th April 2018".
The court says that the conditions are not met for the crime of high treason, the closest charge in German legislation to the Spanish charge of rebellion. "The additional information on concrete events doesn't change this," the ruling says.
The court also rejects considering the charge of disturbance of public order, as Puigdemont cannot be held personally responsible for anything which could constitute this crime. As such, the arrest warrant against Puigdemont in Germany remains limited to the charge of misuse of public funds. It's now expected that prosecutors will so formalise a new extradition request, to still include the charge of rebellion.
Two months in Germany
President Puigdemont was taken into custody on 25th March, after entering Germany from Denmark. He was imprisoned that day in Neumünster prison in Schleswig-Holstein.
Some days later, prosecutors asked the court for his extradition, following the request from their Spanish counterparts.
In early April, the court rejected extradition on the charge of rebellion and asked for additional information on the charge of misuse of public funds. It also ordered Puigdemont's release on bail.