Former Catalan leader says from jail: ‘We are not criminals’

April 2, 2018

A man with a Catalan Independence flag and other demonstrators stand in front of the Neumuenster prison, Germany, Saturday March 31, 2018. Former Catalonia separatist leader Carles Puigdemont was detained in Germany on Sunday on a European arrest warrant and is jailed in Neumuenster. German authorities are due to decide on his extradition. The Spanish Supreme Court has charged the 55-year-old separatist leader with rebellion. (Bodo Marks/dpa via AP)

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Former Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont says in a jail interview with two German members of parliament that he is “not a criminal” and that the campaign for the Spanish region’s independence is based on democracy and nonviolence.

Puigdemont said in an audio recording of the visit that “we are not criminals. We won the elections twice.”

Puigdemont has been detained in Germany on a European arrest warrant. Spain accuses the 55-year-old of rebellion in organizing an unauthorized referendum. German authorities are considering Spain’s request to extradite him.

He said “the crime of rebellion demands the use of violence, and there is no violence so there is no rebellion.”

The recording of Sunday’s visit was published Monday by the weltnetz.de alternative journalism platform.

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