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Switzerland won't extradite Catalan leader for “politically motivated” crimes

German prosecutor, meanwhile, confirms case for Puigdemont’s extradition will be ready in “next few days”



18 April 2018 07:12 PM


ACN | Barcelona

In a week in which jailed pro-independence leaders appeared in Spain’s Supreme Court, there was news from Switzerland and Germany on the proceedings to extradite the Catalan leaders in exile there. The Swiss authorities said they would not extradite Esquerra party leader, Marta Rovira, for “purely political reasons.” Meanwhile, the prosecutor’s office in Schleswig-Hosltein said its analysis of the documentation in the European Arrest Warrant for deposed president Carles Puigdemont will be completed within the “next few days.”

On Wednesday, the Swiss parliament’s committee of foreign affairs released a statement confirming that a “process is underway” to demand Rovira’s extradition to Spain. After “taking note” of the proceedings to extradite Rovira for the offenses of rebellion and sedition, the statement declared that “an extradition will be rejected if it is confirmed that the petition is motivated by purely political reasons.” In fact, on previous occasions, the Swiss authorities have made it clear they always reject all politically motivated extradition requests.

Prosecutor’s decision “this week or the next”

In Germany, the court dealing with Puigdemont’s case confirmed that a decision by the prosecutor on how to proceed “will not take much longer,” coming possibly as early as “this week or the next.” A delegation of prosecutors from Spain and Germany met in the Hague, in the Netherlands, last week to exchange information and analyze Puigdemont’s case.


  • "An extradition will be rejected if it is confirmed that the petition is motivated by purely political reasons"

    Swiss lower chamber statement

Reconsidering extradition for rebellion

However, on Wednesday, the court gave no clues how it might respond should the German prosecutor insist on processing the warrant for rebellion, previously rejected by the judge as grounds for extradition. “We do not comment on our decisions,” said court sources on Wednesday. Nevertheless, should the Spanish judiciary provide new evidence to justify a charge of rebellion, the court would have to consider it once again.

As for the possibility that Spain’s Supreme Court might reduce the charge of rebellion to sedition, to increase the chances of the extradition going ahead, that would require Germany’s attorney general to request extradition for this offense. If the court accepted the request, it would then have to analyze “whether an extradition for this motive is admissible.” Puigdemont will not be required to attend the Schleswig-Holstein court to hear the prosecutor’s decision.


  • Image of a Swiss parliament plenary session (by Reuters)

  • Image of a Swiss parliament plenary session (by Reuters)