Catalan independence leader Carles Puigdemont returns to Brussels after brief arrest in Italy

Catalan independence leader Carles Puigdemont returns to Brussels after brief arrest in Italy

After being tried in Spain for his role in the attempted secession from Catalonia in 2017, Catalan independence leader Carles Puigdemont arrived in Brussels on Monday, September 27, after being briefly detained in Italy, his lawyer told AFP. “He is in Brussels and will be back in Sardinia on Sunday.” Gonzalo Boye said he will attend a judicial hearing next Monday over his extradition demanded by Spain.

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The 58-year-old former Catalan regional president, based in Belgium, who fled in 2017 to escape trial before Spanish justice, was arrested Thursday evening upon arrival at Alghero airport, in Sardinia, where he was to take part in Catalan Adivolk. festival. He was released on Friday evening after pledging to return to the Italian island for a hearing on his extradition.

In the European Parliament since 2019, Puigdemont announced on Saturday that he will have to return to Brussels for a meeting of the European Parliament’s Foreign Trade Committee, of which he is a member.

Accused of “sedition” and “embezzlement of public money”.

The Spanish court indicts Puigdemont of “sedition” and “embezzlement of public funds” for his role in Separation attempt in 2017, one of the worst crises Spain has experienced since the end of Franco’s dictatorship, in 1975. Despite the ban on justice, its regional government then organized a self-determination referendum that was followed, a few weeks later, by the “Declaration of Dead Independence”.

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Madrid responded by sacking Mr. Puigdemont, bringing the region under control and arresting key leaders of the independence movement who had not fled abroad. In March 2018, the Catalan leader was already arrested for the first time at the request of Spain, In Germany this time. But he was released after a few days.

As a member of the European Parliament, Puigdemont had enjoyed parliamentary immunity for some time, but the European Parliament lifted it on March 9 by a large majority. The EU court confirmed the measure on July 30. However, the decision of the European Parliament is subject to appeal, and the final ruling on its subject matter by EU Justice is due at a later date.

Therefore, his lawyers consider that the decision of Parliament is “suspended”, just as the arrest warrant is applied, and that their client is still a beneficiary of his immunity.

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The world with AFP

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