Italian Authorities Arrest Ex-Catalan Head Carles Puigdemont, Spanish Media Reveals
21:09 GMT 23.09.2021 (Updated: 00:03 GMT 24.09.2021)
© AP Photo / Jean-Francois BadiasProtests at European Parliament Against Prosecution of Carles Puigdemont
© AP Photo / Jean-Francois Badias
Italian authorities arrested Carles Puigdemont, the former Catalan president, on Thursday in line with an arrest warrant previously filed by Spanish officials.
The detainment took place in Sardinia, Italy, by virtue of an international search and arrest order issued by Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena, an instructor in a criminal case related to the Catalan sovereign process.
The former Catalan leader arrived in Sardinia to meet with regional politicians to take part in a folk festival and visit the town of Alghero —a town that shares cultural ties with Catalonia.
The arrest has been confirmed by a variety of Spanish media outlets, as well as Puigdemont's lawyer.
"He has been detained in [the town of] Alghero. I think that tomorrow in the morning official information will be published. The media reports are true," a spokesperson for the police said on late Thursday.
It's believed that a court hearing on the possible deportation of Puigdemont to Spain may take place on Friday.
Puigdemont has been a fugitive of the Spanish Court since late 2017 and fled to Belgium after declaring Catalonia's independence from Madrid — following an illegal referendum on secession.
A Belgian judge suspended the extradition process against Catalan politician Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comin, due to their parliamentary immunity after being elected as members of the European Parliament, as the EU Court of Justice ruled.
A German court allowed the extradition of Puigdemont to Spain in December 2020, where he was charged with misuse of public funds — freeing him from the more grave charge of rebellion.
On Monday, Spain's Supreme Court convicted 12 Catalan separatist leaders of sedition, disobedience and the misuse of public funds.
The 12 Catalan leaders have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 13 years apiece for leading the region’s ongoing secession push.