Exiled Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont has been detained in Italy on a Spanish arrest warrant. Spain has accused him of sedition for a breakaway independence referendum in 2017 that the courts ruled illegal. At the time, he was President of Catalonia, but fled to Belgium in a self-imposed exile. He lives there and sits as a Member of the European Parliament.

Police were apparently waiting for him at Sardinia’s Alghero airport and he is due in court in the coming hours.

Mr Puigdemont had travelled to the Mediterranean island for a Catalan folklore festival. A judge in Sardinia will have to decide whether he should be released or extradited. Sardinia is one of the five Italian regions with some degree of domestic autonomy being granted by a special statute.

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