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Catalonia's former leader Carles Puigdemont addresses a news conference in Berlin, Germany, April 7, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke(reuters_tickers)
BERLIN (Reuters) - German and Spanish judicial officials plan to discuss Spain's request to extradite former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont in the Netherlands soon, the regional prosecutor's office said on Wednesday.
The meeting will take place at offices of Eurojust, the European Union's judicial agency, a spokesman for the general prosecutor of Schleswig-Holstein state said.
A court in Schleswig-Holstein last week rejected Spain's extradition request for Puigdemont on the charge of rebellion for his role in Catalonia's campaign for independence.
It released Puigdemont on bail and said extradition to Spain was possible on the lesser charge of misuse of public funds. Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium five months ago, was arrested in Germany last month on a Spanish arrest warrant.
Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on Wednesday that Spanish judicial officials want to use the meeting to convince their German counterparts that there are sufficient grounds to extradite Puigdemont on rebellion charges.
The Higher Regional Court in Schleswig-Holstein must now decided on whether Puigdemont should be extradited on the charge of misusing public funds.
An extradition request has already been filed on that charge. But if he is returned to Spain, he cannot then be made to stand trial for rebellion.
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.
The charge of rebellion can bring up to 25 years in prison in Spain.
(Reporting by Hans-Edzard Busemann, Writing by Joseph Nasr, Editing by Angus MacSwan)