German prosecutors filed a request to a regional court on Tuesday for the extradition of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont to Spain, where he faces charges of rebellion over the region's campaign for independence.
The prosecutors said: 'The accusation of rebellion contains at its core the allegation of carrying out an unconstitutional referendum despite expectations of violent disturbances'. An exact equivalence of the charges isn't required, they said.
Prosecutors told the Schleswig-Holstein higher regional court they have determined Mr Puigdemont's extradition is "justified" after "intensive examination" of the Spanish arrest warrant.
Puigdemont's German attorneys, Wolfgang Schomburg and Soeren Schomburg, said they filed a motion for the court to dismiss the extradition request on the grounds the Catalan independence referendum didn't qualify as "rebellion".
The German government has rejected calls from Puigdemont's lawyer to get involved.
"We will continue to work to build a free country, to ensure we have a society with less injustice, more equality, more solidarity and more fraternity with all the peoples of the world, starting with the peoples of Spain with whom we want to remain connected through respect and mutual recognition", he said in an audio recording handed to a German MP who visited him in prison.
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However, other German parties have said the extradition is a matter for German courts.
Puigdemont's lawyers argue that a referendum is not a criminal offence.
A spokeswoman for the Higher Regional Court in Schleswig said work had started on the case.
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".
"If the two criteria are fulfilled - that an extradition does not immediately appear inadmissable and that there is reason for arrest - that is a danger of flight - then the conditions for an arrest warrant are met", she said.
The former Catalan leader was arrested late last month, while driving into Germany from Denmark.
Five separatist leaders are in jail in Spain pending trial.