Spain's Supreme Court could reject the extradition of the Catalan president in exile, Carles Puigdemont, according to the newspaper El Mundo. Today, a German court agreed to extradite him, but not for rebellion, only for the less serious charge of misuse of public funds.
The newspaper quotes court sources and gives two options: withdraw the European Arrest Warrant and renounce his extradition, or take the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The Spanish judge in the case, Pablo Llarena, has not yet received the German court's verdict. Legal sources, however, say that he had foreseen this response from the German court, since it had rejected the charge of rebellion in earlier rulings.
The magistrate now wants to study the matter in detail to see what responses are available to him within Spanish law, whether it's appropriate to accept his extradition for misuse of public funds alone or whether there is some other action available.
One option is to turn to the Court of Justice of the European Union, to ask them to study the German court's decision and decide whether the extradition procedure is being correctly followed. Llarena suggested this possibility in April after one of the previous decisions from Germany ruling out rebellion. Sources say there is also the possibility of appealing to Eurojust, the EU agency dealing with judicial co-operation in criminal matters.
According to legal sources, the judge will not take a decision until he receives the official notification from the German court, it's translated into Spanish and he's studied the legal arguments given by his German counterparts.
Different charges in the same trial
If Puigdemont's extradition were to go ahead for misuse of public funds alone, he could not face trial for the charge of rebellion Llarena has brought against him. Meanwhile, his vice-president, Oriol Junqueras; ministers Josep Rull, Jordi Turull, Joaquim Forn, Raül Romeva and Dolors Bassa; the 'Jordis' and former Parliament speaker Carme Forcadell, all in pretrial detention in Spain, are to face that charge in the trial, whenever that takes place.
Whilst sentences for rebellion can be up to 30 years' imprisonment, if Puigdemont is tried for misuse of public funds alone, he would face a maximum of 12 years in prison. The latest reports from the Civil Guard to the judge raise the amount of money they claim was diverted to the organisation of the independence process to more than four million euros.
That said, other sources suggest that it would still be possible to charge the president with rebellion, although it would involve waiting for him to serve any potential sentence for misuse of public funds. If he stayed in Spain for little more than a month after release, any restrictions set by Germany would disappear and he could be charged with rebellion. If not extradited, however, the statute of limitations for rebellion is 20 years, so he'd have to stay out of Spain for two decades. There is also the possibility that, if he travels out of Germany in that time, Spain could try to get him extradited through the courts of that third country.