Catalan ex-leader Carles Puigdemont plans return to Belgium

He said he hoped to return to live in Belgium once the legal process was over in Germany but that he meant to remain in Berlin while proceedings continued.

The court ruled earlier Thursday that Puigdemont can be released on bail pending a decision on his extradition to Spain, saying the most serious accusation he faces there isn't punishable under German law. "But only after the end of the proceedings here in Germany, not before".

But in a blow to the Spanish probe, a northern German state court ruled Thursday that the lack of violence in the Catalan independence bid meant that Puigdemont can't be punished for rebellion under German law.

"My plan is to remain of course in Berlin".

Asked where he was staying in Berlin during the legal process, Mr Puigdemont joked "The police know".

Puigdemont, 55, was detained March 25 on a European arrest warrant issued by Madrid, which accuses him of rebellion and misuse of public funds for organizing an independence referendum in Catalonia in October.

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

The German judges still will consider approving his extradition on a lesser charge of misuse of public funds.

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TRT World spoke with Barcelona-based journalist Marah Rayan for more details.

He was then released after paying a 75,000 euros bail.

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

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.

Mr Puigdemont is accused by the Spanish authorities of rebellion and misuse of public funds following an unauthorised referendum past year on Catalonia's independence from Spain.

German courts are still considering whether to extradite the former leader, wanted in Spain on sedition charges.

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

Ms. Barley claimed that it was now up to Spain to prove that their additional prices against Mr. Puigdemont, which she said "won't even be more easy".

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