Exiled former Catalan leader arrested in Sardinia
The exiled former head of the Catalan government has been arrested in Italy.
According to his office Carles Puigdemont was being held by police in Sardinia four years after Spanish authorities sought his arrest for organising an independence referendum in Catalonia.
He’d travelled to Alghero yesterday from Brussels to meet the regional governor of Sardinia and to attend the folklore festival.
The office of the former President said: “When he arrived at Alghero airport he was stopped by the Italian border police.”
“He’ll appear before the judges of the court of appeal of Sassari, who will decide whether to let him go or extradite him,” his chief of staff, Josep Lluís Alay, wrote on Twitter.
According to his lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, the arrest was made on the basis of a Spanish warrant issued in October 2019.
He said: “President Puigdemont was arrested on his arrival in Sardinia, where he was travelling in his capacity as MEP.”
Puigdemont was charged with rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds by the Spanish authorities after he proclaimed Catalan independence in 2017. The proclamation prompted the imposition of direct rule over Catalonia from Madrid.
He fled to Belgium, where he presided over a 14-member government in exile.
In 2019 he was elected as a member of the European parliament. This gave him immunity before the parliament voted to end this status in March this year.