SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 18 October 2021, Monday |

Catalan ex-leader Carles Puigdemont says returning to Belgium

Exiled former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said he would return to Belgium on Monday, but that he would return to Italy for a court hearing there on Spain’s extradition request.

Puigdemont, who had been arrested in Italy at Spain’s request over an independence referendum that Madrid ruled illegal, was speaking as he was allowed to walk free from prison pending the October 4 extradition hearing.

“I plan to return to Brussels on Monday because there is a meeting of the foreign trade committee, of which I am a member,” he told journalists in the Sardinian village of Algero.

“On October 4, I am summoned to Sassari court (in northern Sardinia).

“I will in fact attend, because every time I have been summoned by the courts, I have presented myself,” he added.

Puigdemont, a member of the European Parliament who fled Spain following the 2017 vote, had left jail in the Sardinian town of Sassari on Friday to cheers from supporters outside.

The 58-year-old separatist leader had spent the night there after being taken into custody the day before, but his lawyer said he had been told he was free to leave.