Europe

Spanish premier urges Catalan separatist leader to ‘submit to justice’

Sanchez says Spain will respect decision of Italian court following Puigdemont’s arrest in Sardinia

Senhan Bolelli   | 24.09.2021
Spanish premier urges Catalan separatist leader to ‘submit to justice’

MADRID

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Friday called on Carles Puigdemont to “submit to justice” as the regional former president of Catalonia, who fled Spain after leading a botched independence attempt, was arrested in the Italian island of Sardinia.

“What Carles Puigdemont has to do is appear and submit to justice," Sanchez said during a visit on the Spanish island of La Palma where volcanic eruptions intensify.

He said the Spanish government will respect the decision of the Italian court on Puigdemont.

The premier urged that the dialogue they established with the Catalonian autonomous government should continue to find a political solution to the independence bid in Catalonia.

Meanwhile, Pere Aragones, Catalonia’s current president, called for Puigdemont's immediate release.

“Amnesty is the only way. Self-determination, the only solution,” he said, adding that he will go to Sardinia to support Puigdemont.

Puigdemont was arrested on Thursday upon his arrival to Sardinia, where he was traveling in his role as a member of the European Parliament, his lawyer said.

Earlier, he was arrested in both Belgium and Germany, but authorities in those countries 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 a member of the European Parliament, Puigdemont did get automatic immunity from being arrested. However, last March, the parliament voted to strip him of that legal protection.

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