Ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont detained in Sardinia

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont was detained Thursday in Sardinia, Italy, his lawyer said.

Lawyer Gonzalo Boye wrote on Twitter that the ex-Catalan regional president, wanted by Spain for his role in a failed bid for secession four years ago, was being held under a European arrest warrant issued by Spain in 2019. His arrest was confirmed by Boye to the Associated Press.

Puigdemont, who now holds a seat in the European Parliament, lost his immunity earlier this year.

Sardinian media reported earlier in the week he was due to attend an event in Alghero on Sunday, so his presence on the Mediterranean island was expected. Sardinian media had also reported that Puigdemont was invited by a Sardinian pro-separatist group.

Puigdemont's office said in a statement that he had traveled to Alghero from Brussels to attend a folklore festival.

Police at the airport in northern Sardinian didn’t answer the telephone late Thursday night. Police in the city of Alghero said they weren’t aware of his detention.

Puigdemont and a number of his separatist colleagues fled to Belgium in October 2017, fearing arrest after holding an independence referendum for Catalonia that the Spanish courts and government said was illegal.

The Associated Press

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