Europe

Exiled Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont arrested in Sardinia: Lawyer

Spain first issued international arrest warrant for former president of Catalonia and current member of European Parliament in 2017

Alyssa McMurtry   | 24.09.2021
Exiled Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont arrested in Sardinia: Lawyer Exiled Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont

MADRID 

Carles Puigdemont, the former president of Catalonia who fled Spain after leading a botched independence attempt, was arrested on the Italian island of Sardinia, his lawyer said Thursday.  

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.



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