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Catalan ex-leader Carles Puigdemont plans return to Belgium


Meanwhile, his foreign minister, Alfonso Dastis, criticized comments from German Justice Minister Katarina Barley to newspaper Sueddeutsche, in which she argued the decision to drop rebellion charges was right.

Puigdemont had proposed Sanchez — his No. 2 in the Together for Catalonia party — last month, but Spain's Supreme Court refused to free him to attend a parliamentary session.

Rajoy says on Saturday that his government upholds and abides by court rulings in Spain and elsewhere.

Supporters of former Catalonian president Carles Puigdemont - a key advocate for the region's independence from Spain - lined up in the German capital Saturday amid a throng of journalists awaiting a statement from the recently incarcerated leader.

Catalonia continues to be within an political deadlock significantly more than 5 months after Mr. Rajoy ousted Mr. Puigdemont's administration and placed that the place under direct principle by Madrid.

Former Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont has written an open letter from a German prison, urging Catalonia's parliament to make another attempt to elect jailed separatist activist Jordi Sanchez as the region's president.

Carles Puigdemont on April 7.

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Puigdemont was detained on a European arrest warrant after entering Germany on March 25.

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.

In the meantime, Puigdemont, who had to pay 75,000 euros (91,700 dollars) in bail, must remain in Germany, report weekly to police and inform authorities of any change in his address.

Since October, Puigdemont was living in Belgium.

"We feel that comments on judges' decisions at this point are not appropriate", he told reporters in the southern Spanish city of Seville.

Spain is seeking his extradition for rebellion and misuse of public funds in organizing an unauthorized referendum previous year on Catalonia's independence from Spain. The German court said it will consider his extradition on that count.

In Spain, Puigdemont is wanted on charges of rebellion and embezzlement, facing up to 30 years in prison. Puigdemont can still be extradited on the less serious charge of misuse of funds.

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