Catalan separatist leader urges Spain to respect democracy

Spain must respect democracy and international treaties by freeing all political prisoners and starting dialogue, former Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont said at a Berlin press conference on Saturday.

The comments came a day after he posted €75,000 bail fee and walked out of jail after his arrest on March 25 on a European warrant.

Puigdemont called for talks based on mutual respect to Catalonia’s aspiration for independence.  This is what Europe expects and what the Catalan people ask for. This is what the Catalan economy, society and culture need, he added.

Catalonia’s freedom push had led the Spanish government to dissolve the region’s parliament and demand the return of Puigdemont after he fled the country last year.

Catalonia’s freedom is a political problem and it needs political solution. For that, Madrid should shed its rigid views, the separatist leader said.

It is still uncertain on what grounds Germany will extradite Puigdemont to Spain which wants him jailed. A German court on Wednesday rejected charges of high treason as ground for his extradition. The court held that the closest German legal equivalent to Spain’s most serious charge of rebellion can be applied only if someone — in this case Puigdemont — has involved in violence.

However, Puigdemont may still face extradition on separate charges of misusing government funds during his time in office.

Puigdemont was given an address in Germany where he will stay until judges decide on Spain’s extradition request. No information will be provided about his current whereabouts.