The former president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, has been released by Italian authorities without any precautionary measures after his arrest in Sardinia, but is required to stay on the island.
On Friday, Puigdemont was allowed to walk free by Sardinian authorities a day after his arrest on the island. However, his first court hearing is set to take place on Saturday after his legal team asked for it to be postponed.
Earlier on Friday incumbent Catalonian regional leader Pere Aragones demanded the release of his predecessor, claiming that the Spanish authorities have “acted unfaithfully towards European Justice”.
He called for the European Arrest Warrant against Puigdemont, as well as other politically prosecuted people, to be dropped.
▶️ #President@perearagones: “The Spanish authorities have acted unfaithfully towards the European Justice. We call for the withdrawal of the European Arrest Warrant against President @KRLS. Amnesty and self-determination is the only solution” pic.twitter.com/rMtJJsFAh7
Aragones also said that he will make the journey to Sardinia, where his predecessor was arrested, alongside his vice-president to side with Puigdemont in such a serious situation.
Video footage circulating on Twitter purported to show hundreds of pro-independence supporters gathered on Barcelona’s Avinguda Diagonal.
🎥 | Several hundred pro-independence supporters gather on Barcelona’s Avinguda Diagonal to protest against the arrest of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont📝 | Learn more: https://t.co/PFcVoOXXHnpic.twitter.com/iAvgUpWTTG
On Thursday, Puigdemont was taken into custody on the Italian island, where he had traveled for a cultural event for Catalan folklore. His lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, said that he was detained “upon arrival in Sardinia” and was attending as an MEP, a role he was elected for in 2019.
The fugitive politician had been on the run for almost four years since Catalonia’s independence referendum in 2017. During this period, Puigdemont spent most of his time in Belgium.
In March, the European Parliament voted to lift the immunity of the Catalan separatist, as well as two others, leaving them more vulnerable to arrest.
The 58-year-old was wanted on accusations of sedition and that his involvement in promoting and organizing the independence referendum was an incitement of “rebellion”. A German court, however, ruled he could not be extradited back to Spain for “rebellion”, prompting Madrid to amend the arrest warrant in 2019 for sedition and the misuse of public funds.
Nine other Catalonian leaders were also convicted of the same charges in Spain, but were pardoned in June.
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