Catalan Separatist Carles Puigdemont Arrested In Italy

Exiled Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont has been detained in Italy on a Spanish arrest warrant.

Spain has accused him of sedition for a breakaway independence referendum in 2017 that the courts ruled illegal.

At the time he was president of Catalonia but fled to Belgium after the vote. He lives there and sits as a member of the European Parliament.

Police were apparently waiting for him at Sardinia’s Alghero airport and he is due in court in the coming hours.

Catalonia’s new president Pere Aragones – also a separatist – condemned what he called the “persecution” of Mr Puigdemont.

The Spanish government said in a statement: “The arrest of Mr Puigdemont corresponds to an ongoing judicial procedure that applies to any EU citizen who has to answer to the courts.”

Catalonia is one of Spain’s richest, most distinctive regions and has enjoyed a high degree of autonomy. But many Catalans feel they pay more to Madrid than they get back, and there are historical grievances too, in particular Catalonia’s treatment under the dictatorship of General Franco.

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