GERMAN prosecutors have called for deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont to be extradited to Spain, where he is facing charges for his role in organising last October’s independence referendum.

He was detained in Germany on March 25 as he was travelling from Finland to Belgium – where he has been in self-imposed exile – under a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by Spain’s supreme court two days before.

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Prosecutors in the northern German town of Schleswig have asked the court to formally put Puigdemont in pre-extradition custody. They said: “After an exhaustive analysis of the EAW of the Supreme Court of Madrid dated March 23, 2018, the Attorney General’s Office has taken the decision to present a pertinent request for extradition.”

Should the court agree to the request, prosecutors would still have to issue an order signing off on his extradition.

Puigdemont, 55, is facing charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds, similar to those levelled against University of St Andrews academic Clara Ponsati, who was Catalan education minister before she and other sacked ministers fled Catalonia following the parliament’s unilateral declaration of independence.

Central to the execution of EAWs is whether the charges they contain have an equivalent under local law, and Schleswig prosecutors said the charge of rebellion had a German equivalent – high treason.

“The accusation of rebellion contains at its core the allegation of carrying out an unconstitutional referendum despite expectations of violent disturbances,” said prosecutors.

“A word-by-word match between the German and Spanish regulations is not necessary.”

They said that police had warned Puigdemont that violence might escalate on the day of the referendum, but his government went ahead with it in any case.

Prosecutors also said it was reasonable for him to be charged with misuse of public funds since the independence referendum cost more than €1.5 million (£1.3m).

The Schleswig court could take several days to decide on the prosecutors’ request. Puigdemont’s lawyers have urged the German government to intervene, citing the “political dimension” of the case. But the German government has said it would not interfere or veto any court decision, as this would be considered a “legal affront” by the federal government against the judicial system.

Even if the court decides that he should be extradited, he would still be able to appeal to the country’s constitutional court, which would make a final ruling.

Prosecutors also said Puigdemont posed a flight risk and should continue to be kept in custody.

Puigdemont’s lawyer, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, said in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC1: “The German public prosecutor assumes the defence of the Spanish justice.

“Now the extradition process begins and that is what we were expecting, the court will now have to speak out. What would have been news was that the petition had not been admitted to the process.

“The court required analysis if the facts described in the euro-order are punishable in their country, not if they are true or not.”

This case has divided public opinion in Germany, where supporters of the man still seen as the Catalan leader took to the streets to demand his release following his arrest.

Members of Germany’s Left Party also visited Puigdemont in the jail in which he is being held in the northern city of Neumünster.

In a statement, the party’s Sevim Dagdelen said: “The Spanish judicial system has obviously cobbled together a politically motivated charge ... The Catalonia conflict should be solved politically instead of further criminalising those involved in it.”

However, other German parties have said the extradition is a matter for German courts.