Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan separatist wished in Spain for main a failed breakaway motion in his area 4 years in the past, left Italy on Monday, days after his temporary detention and launch by Italian authorities.
The dramatic seizure and exit of Mr. Puigdemont raised after which dashed the hopes of Spanish prosecutors, who as soon as once more watched one other European nation set him free. Italian authorities acted on a European arrest warrant obtained by Spain, which desires to attempt Mr. Puigdemont on sedition costs after he led an unsuccessful try to determine an unbiased Catalonia.
“He left this morning for Brussels,” mentioned Mr. Puigdemont’s lawyer, Agostinangelo Marras. Mr. Puigdemont’s workplace in Brussels confirmed his departure from Italy and mentioned he could be attending a gathering in Brussels on Monday afternoon.
Mr. Puigdemont, a member of the European Parliament, has been residing in Brussels in freedom. The Belgian authorities has refused to ship him again to Spain for trial, and a German court docket let him go in 2018 after a quick detention there.
An Italian court docket is scheduled to begin contemplating subsequent week whether or not to behave on the warrant for his arrest and ship Mr. Puigdemont to Spain to face felony costs. Regardless of his departure from the nation, his lawyer mentioned that he would return to Italy for the court docket resolution.
The Italian police arrested Mr. Puigdemont on Thursday as he landed on the airport to attend a Catalan folks pageant on the island of Sardinia and to fulfill pro-independence leaders there.
However on Friday, an Italian court docket ordered his launch, ruling that Mr. Puigdemont’s standing as a member of European Parliament gave him the proper to depart the nation to take part in conferences in Brussels.
On Friday afternoon, Mr. Puigdemont posted an image of himself on Twitter leaving jail within the metropolis of Sassari.
“Spain by no means misses a chance to embarrass itself,” he wrote, including the hashtag #NoSurrender.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain mentioned on Friday that his authorities would respect the judicial choices, however added: “It’s apparent that Puigdemont should face justice.”
Spain has repeatedly issued worldwide warrants in an try and prosecute Mr. Puigdemont. However the newest effort got here at a important second, simply over every week after Mr. Sánchez visited Barcelona, the regional capital of Catalonia, to begin a recent spherical of negotiations with separatist politicians geared toward ending a territorial battle that has been Spain’s greatest political headache for the previous decade.
The Italian court docket requested Mr. Puigdemont’s presence in Sassari for a listening to on Oct. 4 to evaluate whether or not to return him to Spain. However Italian authorized consultants mentioned that if Mr. Puigdemont didn’t return to Italy for the listening to, his absence would virtually definitely trigger the decide to easily finish the proceedings.
“The primary requirement of any European arrest warrant, and even of any extradition, is that the particular person wished is within the nation,” mentioned Roberto De Vita, a global lawyer primarily based in Rome.
“The court docket hearings might technically additionally proceed, however the case is over,” mentioned Stefano Maffei, a legislation professor specializing in extraditions and European arrest warrants on the College of Parma. “Finally the court docket granted him freedom. It’s unlikely that they may arrest him once more.”
The Italian court docket acknowledged that Mr. Puigdemont’s immunity throughout Europe, granted by his election to the European Parliament in 2019, “remains to be intact,” despite the fact that the identical European Parliament stripped him of his immunity in March and a European court docket upheld that call in July.
Attorneys defending Mr. Puigdemont say that Spain’s arrest warrant had been suspended earlier than his journey to Italy, however the Italian judges validated the arrest.
On Monday, authorized consultants in Spain additionally continued debating whether or not he ought to have been detained in Sardinia within the first place.
Italy, like most Western European international locations, has laws that protects foreigners on their territory who would face costs with political overtones of their dwelling international locations, like these Mr. Puigdemont is accused of. The same precept in France allowed numerous Italian terrorists to reside there freely for many years, solely to be arrested earlier this 12 months. None of them has returned to Italy but.
From Brussels, Mr. Puigdemont has remained extremely influential in Catalan politics.
Catalan leaders who supported the 2017 independence bid and remained in Spain to face trial have been convicted and given lengthy jail sentences, however Mr. Sánchez pardoned them. His authorities has mentioned there will be no amnesty for these like Mr. Puigdemont, who fled the nation, till they’ve been tried.
Raphael Minder contributed reporting from Madrid.