DrHe was the former head of the Catalan government Carles Puigdemont His supporters celebrated him in Alghero on Saturday after his release in Sardinia. At a meeting in the Catalan city in the west of the island, Puigdemont was convinced that he would be able to participate in a cultural festival there as planned. “I used to be chased by Spain,” said the 58-year-old. “But it always ends the same way: I’m free – and I’ll keep fighting.”
After arriving on the Italian Mediterranean island on Thursday, Puigdemont was initially arrested on a European arrest warrant, but was able to leave prison on Friday evening. Contrary to first reports, he was released unconditionally. The Sassari Court of Appeal did not obligate the politician to remain on the island or in Italy until further procedures were clarified. Puigdemont is also allowed to leave the country.
The judge declared Puigdemont’s arrest lawful
The next court date was set for October 4. There will then be negotiations on how to proceed with Spain’s European arrest warrant. Judge Plina Azina had decided in a first hearing on Friday that Puigdemont’s arrest Thursday night at Alghero Airport was lawful.
The politician was the leading figure in the declaration of Catalonia’s independence from Spain in 2017. After being sacked by the central government in Madrid, he was exiled to Belgium in October 2017 to avoid prosecution in Spain.
In 2018, he was arrested in Germany at the request of Spain. A few days later, he was released again because the German judiciary did not recognize the accusation of “rebellion” raised by Spain as a reason for his extradition. In 2019, he won a mandate in the EU Parliament, but his immunity was later lifted.
The Spanish judiciary sentenced Puigdemont campaign colleagues who remained in Catalonia to several years in prison in 2019, but were pardoned by the government of socialist Pedro Sánchez at the end of June this year. Puigdemont was not one of them. The Spanish judiciary wants to continue his trial on charges of rebellion and embezzlement of public funds.
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