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Index – Abroad – The release of the former Catalan president

The Sassari Court of Appeal in Sardinia, Italy, freed former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont of the Independence Party on Friday, but he must remain on the island until further decisions are made, according to El Pais for Justice newspaper and the Catalan Independence Party. Catalan indicates the sources covered by the MTI.

Puigdemont, a member of the European Parliament (MEP), must remain on the island until the judges have made a decision on the European arrest warrant.

The Italian Ministry of Justice previously stated that Italy does not have the authority to decide on the arrest and possible extradition of the former Catalan president to Spain, as it is a European arrest warrant that differs, as the ministry indicated, from extradition. Procedure.

Puigdemont’s lawyer, Gonzalo Bui, said on Twitter that the former Catalan president was arrested on Thursday under a European arrest warrant dated October 14, 2019. They were arrested In Sardinia, where he traveled as a member of the European Parliament.

The former Catalan president has been living in exile in Belgium since Catalonia’s 2017 secession attempt to avoid criminal prosecution by Spanish justice. Although the Spanish government partially pardoned nine Catalan independence leaders in June, this did not extend to Puigdemont, in which case the Spanish government led by socialist Pedro Sánchez still wants to bring them to justice in Spain. According to a statement issued by the Spanish prime minister ahead of Friday’s hearing in Italy on extradition, Puigdemont must be brought before the Spanish judiciary.

The former Catalan president, the regional government, Carles Puigdemont, held an independence referendum in October 2017 despite protests and bans from the central government, and a few weeks later it unilaterally declared its independence, which Madrid did not recognize. In response, the then conservative government removed the regional government from its place and brought the region under its control. The secession attempt was one of the most serious domestic political crises in Spain since the end of Franco’s dictatorship in 1975.

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The former Catalan president has been on trial over the 2017 unconstitutional independence referendum on charges of rebellion, dishonest handling of public funds and other crimes.