Friday, July 13, 2018

Better news than it sounds

Last night, a German court ruled that exiled Catalan President Carles Puigdemont could be extradited to Spain - but only on charges of "misuse of public funds". The charge Spain really wants to stick him with - "rebellion" - was rejected. Which is better news than it sounds, because (thanks to EU law) it means he can not now be prosecuted for that offence if extradited. The German court found that there was no violence or criminal organisation in the independence referendum (or at least, not from the Catalan people. The Spanish state is another matter). This hands a ready-made legal argument to those facing extradition elsewhere, as well as to the nine Catalan political prisoners Spain is currently holding. Its so bad for Spain that they may themselves refuse to accept the extradition rather than live with the legal consequences (though its unclear whether they can then seek it again elsewhere on charges which have already been rejected).

There will be an appeals process, of course. But its a good sign for Puigdemont at least, and it puts pressure on the Spanish government to drop its ridiculous charges. And given that they've declared that no public money was spent on the referendum, they should drop the "misuse of public funds" ones as well.