Catalan Separatist Leader, Carles Puigdemont, Arrested in Italy

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MADRID — Carles Puigdemont, the former separatist leader of Spain’s Catalonia location, was arrested by the Italian law enforcement Thursday evening on the island of Sardinia, his business stated in a assertion, on an arrest warrant issued by Spain’s best court on charges of sedition.

Mr. Puigdemont, a member of the European Parliament, experienced been traveling to the Sardinian town of Alghero from Brussels, where by he experienced fled to steer clear of the prices, first introduced in 2017.

He had absent to Sardinia to attend a Catalan people society festival known as the Adifolk Convention, the assertion from his business said. When he arrived at the airport, he was detained by the Italian law enforcement.

He faces a demo in Spain for his major purpose in an unsuccessful attempt to declare an independent point out in Catalonia in the drop of 2017, pursuing a referendum that the Spanish federal government and courts experienced declared unlawful to keep.

In March of this 12 months, the European Parliament stripped him of his immunity, a move he has been preventing in the courts. In July, a European court denied a ask for to reinstate it.

Josep Costa, an legal professional doing the job with Mr. Puigdemont, mentioned on Twitter that he anticipated his client would before long be produced.

“The disgrace will stay on Spain for heritage,” he wrote.

Spain’s govt built no instant remark on the arrest.

The arrest will no doubt insert turbulence to a renewed work to seek out an end to Spain’s territorial conflict more than Catalonia. Just previous week, Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, met with his regional counterpart, Pere Aragonès, in Barcelona to focus on the destiny of the restive location.

Amid Mr. Aragonès’s calls for is a call for a typical amnesty for those people jailed or going through fees associated to the 2017 independence endeavor. At the prime of the list for lots of is Mr. Puigdemont.

In June, Mr. Sánchez issued pardons to the 9 independence activists who experienced been provided prolonged sentences for sedition. But Spain claims it can’t provide any pardon to Mr. Puigdemont until eventually he stands trial.

The separatist conflict proceeds to be one of the most divisive political difficulties in Spain.

In 2017, when Mr. Puigdemont was regional chief, Catalonia’s authorities staged an independence referendum in defiance of Spain’s authorities and its courts, which experienced declared the vote unlawful. Police officers confiscated ballots and even defeat people who tried to vote.

Soon after the central governing administration took manage of the location, and as it turned very clear that sedition rates have been in the offing, Mr. Puigdemont fled Spain and was declared a fugitive.

The arrest was welcome news to conservative politicians in Spain, who applauded the move on Thursday evening.

“Puigdemont must be tried using in Spain for his strike against constitutional legality, and Sánchez need to dedicate to respecting the judgment of justice without the need of pardons,” claimed Pablo Casado, the head of the conservative Well known Bash.

Spain has continuously unsuccessful in its tries to extradite Mr. Puigdemont, equally from Belgium exactly where he has resided due to the fact late 2017, and also Germany, where he was briefly detained in 2018. A German courtroom ordered his release just after turning down Spain’s extradition ask for

La Nuova Sardegna, a neighborhood Sardinia newspaper, had claimed on Wednesday that Mr. Puigdemont would be a shock visitor at the folk festival in Alghero, a metropolis with deep Catalan roots.

According to Italian media, Mr. Puigdemont also verified that he would go to this weekend’s Corona de Logu, an assembly of area actions supporting Sardinia’s independence from Italy.

A spokesman for the region of Sardinia said authorities experienced arrested Mr. Puigdemont right as he stepped off the aircraft at Alghero-Fertilia airport on Thursday.

Jason Horowitz contributed reporting from Treviso, Italy, and Raphael Minder from Madrid.