Catalan president Carles Puigdemont is once again at liberty. The Sassari Court of Appeals decided to release him without any bail or precautionary measures, and he will be free to move around Europe. As he left the court, the exiled Catalan politician was accompanied by the president of Sardinia, Christian Solinas, and the speaker of its Parliament, Michele Pais. Puigdemont assured the media: "Spain never misses an opportunity to look ridiculous."
The Court of Appeals in the Sardinian city of Sassari has summonsed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont to return to the court on October 4th at 11:30am. No bail or precautionary measures have been imposed on the MEP and he is free to travel. The head of the president's office, Josep Lluís Alay, assured the media that Puigdemont "will attend the institutional event he had planned today in L'Alguer".
Maintaining his visit schedule
During his stay on the Italian island, and once released, he will meet with the highest authorities of L'Alguer and Sardinia, visit the Crown of Logu (Assembly of Pro-independence Mayors and Councilors of Sardinia) and meet with representatives of the Sardinian political parties, whom he will thank for their support of the right to self-determination of Catalonia and the denunciation they have made against the repression carried out by the Spanish state since October 1st, 2017.
The Spanish judge's contradictions
While the Sardinian court was deliberating its decision, Spanish investigating judge Pablo Llarena sent Italian justice a copy of the European Arrest Warrant which came into force in 2019. However, the application of Llarena's European warrant contradicts the ruling of the EU General Court which stated that there was no imminent risk to Puigdemont, and this was confirmed by Spanish state solicitors who sent a letter to the European General Court to that effect.
In fact, members of Puigdemont's defence team note that the prosecution in Sassari has expressed doubts about the legality of judge Pablo Llarena's arrest warrant. Today it was expected that Puigdemont would at midday via video conference. His lawyers had asked for the statement to be postponed to give the judge time to study all the documentation.
The air journey to Italy by the former Catalan president passed with absolute normalcy, but the people waiting for Puigdemont on the island of Sardinia realized that something strange was happening. They have some experience in such matters: Josep Alay, also the subject of intense legal prosecution for his role in the trial, accompaniedof the Catalan president's office, was also with Puigdemont when he was arrested in Schleswing-Holstein in 2018.
Waiting at the airport, they were struck by the attitude of two uniformed police officers. Numerous plainclothes agents then appeared. Sources in the L'Alguer authorities reported that the police had come from Rome. They also stated that among the officers present at the airport were Spanish police. However, Spanish interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska has denied this. For his part, Puigdemont's lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, questioned the control that the Spanish government of Pedro Sánchez has over this matter.
Puigdemont and his travelling companion were informed by the people waiting for them at the airport about the unusual police presence. They were both aware of what was happening before they got off the plane. That’s why it didn’t catch them by surprise when they found the police waiting for them. They were asked for identification and taken to the airport police station.