Germany praises bail decision for ex-Catalan leader

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Germany praises bail decision for ex-Catalan leader

Catalonia's former president, Carles Puigdemont, said on Saturday that Spain must "respect democracy and worldwide treaties" in its treatment of the region and its politicians.

Carles Puigdemont, the former president of the government of Catalonia, has urged Spain to allow Catalonia to form their regional government headed by Jordi Sanchez, who is now in prison for rebellion charges in a press conference Saturday.

Puigdemont added that the Spanish government needs to acknowledge that Catalan sovereignty is a reality. "My goal is to return to Belgium, but only after the end of the processes here in Germany - not before". "But only after the end of the proceedings here in Germany, not before".

Puigdemont, granted bail after German judges ruled he could not be extradited on charges of "rebellion" brought by Spain, thanked prison staff as he emerged to cheers and people waving Catalan flags.

The Spanish government has accused Puigdemont of provoking an uprising by attempting to declare Catalonia an independent state after a referendum previous year the government says was illegal.

Germany's justice minister has applauded a court's decision to free Puigdemont on bail, two weeks after his arrest in Germany.

The former Catalan leader was arrested last month as he entered Germany.

He was trying to drive from Finland to Belgium, where he had been living since fleeing to escape arrest in Spain.

The German court decided the charge of rebellion did not warrant extradition, because the accusation isn't punishable under German law.

He also urged the Spanish government to accept dialogue as a way out of the current crisis and accept the legitimacy of Jordi Sanchez - who remains in prison - as a candidate for the presidency of Catalonia.

Misuse of public funds carries a sentence of around eight years at Spain, while a rebellion sentence can hit 30 years.

But Spain's Supreme Court said on Friday it was considering consulting the European Court of Justice on the ruling, without giving more details.

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