Former Catalan government president Carles Puigdemont was arrested on the Italian island of Sardinia on Thursday on charges related to his activities in Catalonia's failed attempt to secede from Spain in 2017, a CNN official told Puigdemont's court and attorney.
His lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, told CNN that the arrest was carried out on an order from the Spanish Supreme Court and a spokeswoman for the court said the Spanish court will contact Italian courts on Friday.
Puigdemont has been living in Belgium for the past four years and faced arrest if he returned to Spain.
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He went to Sardinia on Thursday to attend a cultural festival in an area where Catalan is spoken, a Catalan regional government official told CNN on Friday.
Separatist tensions continue in Barcelona and in Catalonia in general.
And the problem affects national politics right now, with the minority government of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez relying on a Catalan independence party, Esquerra Republicana, for support on the upcoming budget and other issues.
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Last June the government of Spain pardoned nine Catalan leaders who were serving prison terms for their role in the failed 2017 independence campaign. Sánchez said at the time that the measure was aimed at promoting reconciliation between Catalonia and the rest of the Spain.
But the pardons did not apply to Puigdemont, who fled in 2017 along with some of his top aides after Madrid temporarily took direct control of the region.
Puigdemont will now seek relief in European courts for his arrest in Italy, his lawyer told CNN.
He will argue that the Spanish court's arrest warrant was currently invalid and will also ask to have his immunity as a member of the European Parliament restored, which was revoked earlier this year.