A court on the Italian island of Sardinia has postponed the case over Carles Puigdemont’s extradition to Spain on Monday pending a ruling from the European Court of Justice. Due to the suspension, the former Catalan regional president is free to return to Belgium, the country he fled to in 2017 when it became known that the Spanish justice wants to prosecute him for, among other things, sedition.
Leaving the courtroom, Puigdemont said he was “very happy” with the preliminary outcome of the case. The European Court of Justice will soon decide whether the MEP will lose his immunity, which the European Parliament decided last March. Puigdemont appealed that decision.
The former separatist leader was arrested in Sardinia on September 23. An international arrest warrant was issued against him by the Spanish Supreme Court. Spain wants to prosecute Puigdemont for rebellion, sedition and misuse of public money. However, he was released a day later. He was on the island to visit a cultural festival of the small Catalan community.
The Spanish government issued a warrant for the arrest of Puigdemont in 2017 for organizing a referendum on Catalan independence that year. He was president of the Catalan regional government at the time. If convicted, Puigdemont could face up to 25 years in prison.