April 6, 2018 / 12:19 PM / a year ago

Leaving jail, Puigdemont calls on Madrid to enter dialogue

Catalonia's former leader Carles Puigdemont waves to the media as he leaves the prison in Neumuenster, Germany, April 6, 2018. A German court on Thursday rejected an extradition request for Puigdemont on the charge of rebellion for his role in the campaign for the region's independence. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

BERLIN (Reuters) - Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont called on Spain to abandon its attempts to prosecute separatist leaders after leaving a German prison on Friday, urging Madrid to enter into dialogue with them.

Puigdemont, who was granted bail after German judges ruled he could not be extradited on rebellion charges brought by Spain, thanked prison staff as he emerged to cheers and people waving Catalan flags.

“I claim for the immediate release of all my colleagues in Spanish prisons,” he said. “It is a shame for Europe to have political prisoners. Finally the time for dialogue has arrived.”

Puigdemont’s German lawyer, Wolfgang Schomburg, said he would continue the legal battle to have judges also rule out his extradition on the lesser charges of embezzlement.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Paul Carrel

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