Exiled Catalan Separatist Leader Arrested in Sardinia

Published September 24th, 2021 - 05:56 GMT
Exiled Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont
The pro-independence MEP and former Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, in exile in Belgium since 2017 after the attempted secession of Catalonia in the same year, was arrested on September 23, 2021 in Italy. (Photo by HATIM KAGHAT / AFP)
Spain first issued international arrest warrant for former president of Catalonia and current member of European Parliament in 2017

Carles Puigdemont, the former Catalan separatist leader had earlier fled Spain after leading a botched independence attempt. on Thursday, his lawyer said that he was arrested on the Italian island of Sardinia.

Gonzalo Boye said on Twitter that Puigdemont was arrested upon his arrival to Sardinia, where he was traveling in his role as a member of the European Parliament (MEP). 

This is not the first time Puigdemont has been arrested since he fled Spain in 2017 after holding an illegal referendum on independence and subsequently declaring his intention to split the region from Spain. He was arrested in both Belgium and Germany, but authorities in those countries have refused to extradite him. 

In Spain, he faces major charges, including rebellion and sedition. 

Few details are known about the latest arrest, except that Puigdemont was traveling to Sardinia to participate in an event about Catalan culture.

Sardinia, which is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean, is home to a separatist movement of its own.  

As an MEP, Puigdemont did get automatic immunity from being arrested. However, last March, the European Parliament voted to strip him of that legal protection.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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