Catalan separatist Carles Puigdemont released from jail in Germany

Catalan separatist Carles Puigdemont released from jail in Germany

"I call for the immediate release for all of my colleagues still in Spanish prisons", he said, speaking in English.

A demonstration was planned in the northern German town of Neumünster, where Puigdemont had been held since his detention, against his still-possible extradition.

Puigdemont also thanked the German authorities for "their professionality and for their respect", and thanked his fellow inmates for "their solidarity and help for me to adapt quickly to the situation". He said there are no excuses for the Spanish authorities to avoid "a political dialogue with the Catalan political leaders in order to find a political solution of our demands, not by criminal law". "And if, finally, I am released and not charged here, my goal [will be] to return to Belgium but only after the end of the process here in Germany - not before", Carles Puigdemont said at a press conference, broadcast live.

"This opens a new opportunity of dialogue".

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"My plan is to remain of course in Berlin".

Puigdemont has been fugitive since Catalonia's bid to seek independence from Spain failed last October.

German authorities are still considering whether to extradite Puigdemont to Spain after he was arrested on March 25 on an arrest warrant issued by Madrid while traveling through Germany. "It is my residence now until the end of this process". He was trying to drive from Finland to Belgium, where he had been living since fleeing to escape arrest in Spain.

German Justice Minister Katarina Barley has praised the court's decision, telling the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Saturday that the judges' decision was "absolutely right". However, if he is sent back to face trial on that charge, under European law he will no longer be able to be prosecuted in Spain for rebellion.

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The German court's decision to release Puigdemont on bail is a setback for the Spanish judiciary's efforts to crack down on the separatist movement.

The Spanish Supreme Court is considering appealing to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg on extradition procedures among EU member states.

Puigdemont's lawyer, Wolfgang Schomburg, said he was confident of convincing the court not to allow his client's extradition on the misuse of funds charges.

"It is an embarrassment for Europe that we still have political prisoners", Puigdemont said referencing the pro-independence Catalan political and social leaders who have been jailed after the referendum.

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