Exiled former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has been residing in Belgium since 2017 and was visiting Sardinia when he was detained.
Exiled former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has been arrested in Italy, his lawyer and an aide stated, 4 years after fleeing Spain after an independence referendum that Madrid dominated unconstitutional.
The European Parliament member (MEP) was anticipated to look in court docket on Friday at a listening to that would see him extradited to Spain to face sedition fees.
The Catalan chief – who has been based mostly in Belgium for the reason that 2017 referendum – was detained in Alghero, Sardinia, his chief of workers, Josep Lluis Alay, wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
“At his arrival at Alghero airport, he was arrested by Italian police. Tomorrow [Friday], he’ll seem earlier than the judges of the court docket of attraction of Sassari, who will determine whether or not to let him go or extradite him,” Alay stated.
Puigdemont’s lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, wrote on social media that the exiled separatist chief was arrested on his arrival in Italy, the place he was travelling in his capability as an MEP.
He stated the arrest was made on the premise of a warrant issued in October 2019 that had since been suspended.
Puigdemont, 58, is needed in Spain on allegations of sedition over his makes an attempt to have the Catalan area break free from Madrid by the 2017 referendum.
His arrest comes every week after the left-leaning Spanish authorities and regional Catalan authorities resumed negotiations to discover a answer to Spain’s worst political disaster in a long time.
In March, the European Parliament rescinded immunity for Puigdemont and two different pro-independent MEPs, a choice that was upheld in July by the European Union’s Common Courtroom.
Nonetheless, the European Parliament’s resolution is beneath attraction and a closing ruling by the EU court docket has but to be made.
Following Thursday’s arrest, Madrid expressed “its respect for the choices of the Italian authorities and courts”.
“The arrest of Mr Puigdemont corresponds to an ongoing judicial process that applies to any EU citizen who has to reply to the courts,” the Spanish authorities stated in a press release.
The assertion added Puigdemont ought to “undergo the motion of justice like some other citizen”.
President and MEP @KRLS has been arrested in Alguer, Sardinia tonight upon his arrival on the airport though there isn’t any lively EAW in opposition to him. Both Italian Police made a mistake or Spain’s Supreme Courtroom has lied to the Courtroom of Justice of the EU. Scandalous. #FreePuigdemont
— Janne Riitakorpi (@JanneRiitakorpi) September 23, 2021
New Catalan president Pere Aragones – a separatist however extra average than his predecessor – condemned what he referred to as the “persecution” of Puigdemont.
“Within the face of persecution and judicial repression, the strongest condemnation. It has to cease,” he wrote on Twitter.
He added that “self-determination” was the “solely answer”.
In addition to Puigdemont, former Catalan regional ministers Toni Comin and Clara Ponsati are additionally needed in Spain on allegations of sedition.
The October 2017 referendum was held by Catalonia’s separatist regional management regardless of a ban by Madrid, and the method was marred by police violence.
A couple of weeks later, the management made a short-lived declaration of independence, prompting Puigdemont to flee overseas.
Others who stayed in Spain had been arrested and tried.
Nonetheless, Puigdemont didn’t profit from the pardon granted in June to 9 pro-independence activists who had been imprisoned in Spain.