After months of waiting, the German court of Schleswig-Holstein has finally given a response to the Spanish European arrest warrant issued on Puigdemont: they’ve only accepted extraditing him on the charges of misappropriation of public funds.
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Wednesday 12th of June 2018, the German court of the region of Schleswig-Holstein accepted extraditing the Catalonian ex-president on the run Puigdemont for misappropriation of public funds, ignoring the accusation of rebellion. Currently, there is no date for said extradition, as the German prosecutor still has to approve the final decision of the German court.
The decision of the German court didn’t surprise anybody. Over the past few months, most people did expect that this was going to be the outcome, to the point some people at the Spanish Supreme Court were considering other options, such as appealing the decision at the European Court or not accept the current decision and leave Puigdemont outside of Spain. This option has been considered again, now that the decision is known, as judging Puigdemont for only misappropriation of public funds has a maximum penalty of 12 years of prison, while the crime of rebellion is punished with up to 30 years of prison.
The German prosecutor still has to wait for a month, as the lawyers of Puigdemont can appeal the decision at the court, which they have confirmed they will be doing. In the worst case, it won’t even be possible to extradite Puigdemont for misappropriation of public funds.
The reaction towards the decision of the German court was different depending on which side one is. The independentists celebrated the decision, thinking it validates their cause, and used it as propaganda against the Spanish state and to justify their movement. At the Supreme Court, the judges were unhappy of the way the German justice handled the case. In theory, the German court shouldn’t analyse the events and form an opinion to respond to the demand, and instead have to limit themselves to the information given by the Spanish judge. Which, clearly, the court of Schleswig-Holstein didn’t do. That’s why the Supreme Court is planning on taking the case to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
In any case, what is clear is that Puigdemont is still in Germany. If the judge Llarena refuses to accept him on the basis of misappropriation of public funds, Puigdemont will have to live outside of the country for at least 20 years, as the arrest warrant in Spain lasts that long.
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