Eastern Europe

Ex-Catalan leader Puigdemont detained in Italy

13:00, 24 September 2021
Ex-Catalan leader Puigdemont detained in Italy

The Italian police arrested on Friday ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemot who has been a fugitive from justice since 2017.

He was imprisoned after arriving in Sardinia island for a Catalan folklore festival, his lawyer said on Twitter. The Italian border police detained the politician upon arriving at the airport in the Sardinia Alghero.

The local media reported that Puigdemont had to have some meetings with some of the Catalan politicians.

Puigdemont led the independence movement in Catalonia and encouraged the independence referendum in the region while the official Spanish authority considered it illegal. In addition, he was accused of embezzlement of public funds.

Eventually, the secession bid failed and other nine Catalan pro-independence leaders had gone to prison for their role in the 2017 referendum. However, they have been recently released from prison after serving several years of their sentences.

Puigdemont could escape to Belgium while Spain has been demanding his extradition since then. 

According to Italian legislation, Puigdemont will be brought before a court on Friday and will be offered extradition. If he denies it the Italian court might choose the “preventive measure”.