Saturday 10/16/21
CATALONIA

Ex-Catalan separatist leader to attend extradition hearing in Italy

However, the court made it clear that Puigdemont should not be detained or extradited until the legal dispute over immunity is finally resolved
24 September 2021, Spain, Barcelona: A protester holds a picture of Carles Puigdemont during a protest near the Italian Consulate General in Barcelona against the arrest of Catalan ex-government leader. The former Catalan head of government Puigdemont has been arrested on the Italian Mediterranean island of Sardinia. Photo: Matthias Oesterle/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
A protester holds a picture of Carles Puigdemont during a protest near the Italian Consulate General in Barcelona. Photo: Matthias Oesterle/dpa.

The former president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, has agreed to appear in a Sardinian court on October 4 for an extradition hearing.

The Catalan separatist and member of the European Parliament is trying to avoid extradition to Spain where he faces a trial on charges of sedition for his role in holding an illegal referendum on Catalan independence in 2017.

Puigdemont's lawyer Gonzalo Boye told Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia on Saturday that Puigdemont was at "zero risk, this trial is dead."

Puigdemont arrived in Sardinia on Thursday and was detained by police on the basis of an international arrest warrant issued by Spain.

On Friday however, a judge ordered Puigdemont's release after the public prosecutor's office agreed he was neither a flight or security risk.

Legal arrest

She stressed that Puigdemont's arrest when he entered Italy had been legal.

As a Member of the European Parliament, Puigdemont is technically entitled to immunity from prosecution. However, the European Parliament lifted his immunity and the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg rejected his request for interim legal protection.

A final decision on the case is expected soon.

However, the court had made it clear in its latest decision that Puigdemont should not be detained or extradited until the legal dispute over immunity is finally resolved.

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