Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont makes a renewed call for Spanish authorities to open dialogue over Catalonia's secession claim, a day after he was released from a German prison.

Catalonia's former leader Carles Puigdemont is seen with supporters after a news conference in Berlin, Germany, April 7, 2018.
Catalonia's former leader Carles Puigdemont is seen with supporters after a news conference in Berlin, Germany, April 7, 2018. (Reuters)

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has made a renewed call for Spanish authorities to open negotiations over the region's secession bid.

Puigdemont told reporters that he hoped a German court's decision not to extradite him to Spain on charges of rebellion shows that "dialogue is needed" to defuse the political conflict in his home country.

"I hope the situation could help ... Spanish authorities understand that political measures are needed," Puigdemont said at a press conference in Berlin. 

"This opens a new opportunity of dialogue."

Puigdemont, who was released on bail from a German prison on Friday, said, "My wish is to return to Belgium. But only after the end of the proceedings here in Germany, not before."

"My plan is to remain of course in Berlin. It is my residence now until the end of this process."

A German court is deciding whether Puigdemont should be extradited on the lesser charge of misuse of public funds to hold a banned referendum on independence for Catalonia last year.

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

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

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

Court decision hailed

Germany's justice minister has applauded a court's decision to free Puigdemont on bail, two weeks after his arrest in Germany.

Katarina Barley told daily Sueddeutsche on Saturday the judges' decision was "absolutely right" and what she'd expected.

Spain is seeking Puigdemont's extradition for rebellion and misuse of public funds in organising an unauthorised referendum last year on Catalonia's independence from Spain.

The German court decided the charge of rebellion did not warrant extradition, because the accusation isn't punishable under German law. Puigdemont can still be extradited on the less serious charge of misuse of funds.

Barley said it was now up to Spain to prove their embezzlement charges against Puigdemont, which she said "won't be easy."

Spain says will respect court's decision 

The Spanish government has said it would respect the German court's decision. 

But Spain's Supreme Court said on Friday it was considering consulting the European Court of Justice on the ruling, without giving more details.

Spain's Supreme Court reactivated international arrest warrants last month for Puigdemont and four other Catalan politicians who went into self-imposed exile last year. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies