The appeal court of Sassari (Sardinia, Italy) has suspended on Monday the process of handing over the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont until the preliminary questions and the immunity of the MEP are resolved, as reported by the Italian lawyer of the ex-president, Agostinangelo Marras. Puigdemont has marched after four hours of hearing before a court that, according to Marras, has not ordered any precautionary measure either. Nor has Vox been allowed to appear in the case.
The Italian Prosecutor’s Office had also asked the Court to suspend the delivery, the Italian agency Ansa has advanced and sources of the former president’s defense have confirmed to EL PAÍS. According to those same voices, the prosecutor Gabriella Pintus had requested to paralyze the procedure to the body chaired by the magistrate Salvatore Marinaro, arguing the need for two pending issues to be resolved first: on the one hand, Puigdemont’s appeal before the General Court of the Union European Parliament (TGUE) against the decision of the Europarliament to lift his immunity and, on the other, the preliminary question raised before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) by the Supreme Court magistrate Pablo Llarena on the interpretation that Belgium is making of the Euroorders issued against the independence leaders.
The decision of the Court of Appeal of the Italian island was the one expected by Puigdemont’s defense, who expected his client to be released, without any type of precautionary measure. The former Catalan president, a fugitive in Belgium for almost three years, was arrested in Sardinia on September 23 (and later released). Upon arriving at Alghero airport, the police arrested him as a result of the Euro order against him, issued by the Supreme Court judge, Pablo Llarena.
Despite the fact that Llarena demanded the immediate delivery of the former Catalan leader, the Italian justice then aligned itself with the thesis of the defense, considering that Puigdemont keeps his immunity “intact”, although only to act as a member of parliament. The defense of Puigdemont, in fact, there was requested last Friday to the TGUE to return in a precautionary manner the immunity that was withdrawn on July 30.
In fact, the magistrate of the Spanish High Court had asked the Italian Court this Monday to take the opportunity to hold MEPs Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí, – who fled with Puigdemont in 2017 and who are also subject to an arrest warrant from the Supreme Court for sedition-. Both have traveled to Italian territory to show support for their leader in Brussels.
Puigdemont’s declaration began on time, at 11 in the morning and ended around three in the afternoon. Several representatives of Sardinian independence parties, secessionist unions and social platforms on the island were waiting for him at the door of the building. Dressed in flags stellate and the Sardinian secessionist movement have received the ex-president with applause and shouts of “freedom”. The great media hype is for them a great showcase for their own separatist cause, that of Sardinia, with little international impact.
In addition to Comín and Ponsatí, the former Catalan president is accompanied by representatives of Junts per Catalunya, ERC and the CUP. The Government has been represented by the counselors of the Presidency, Laura Vilagrà (ERC), and Justice, Lourdes Ciuró (Junts).
“This will be a new defeat for Spanish justice, as has already happened in Belgium and Germany,” said Vilagrà, who took advantage of his visit to also meet with the Síndic del Alghero, a position equivalent to that of mayor. Ciuró, for his part, has ensured that the fact that Puigdemont is in Sassari shows that he “does not shy away from justice” and highlights the “deficits” of Spanish democracy.
The Puigdemont visit has become a great act to attack the Spanish justice and the Pedro Sánchez Government. The leader of the Junts, Jordi Sànchez, has taken the opportunity to demand that the President of the Executive branch that if he is truly committed to the negotiation path, he commits himself to “that the freedoms of the Catalan MEP and former president are no longer violated.” “Today’s decision will serve to enlighten all European countries,” he said. The anti-capitalist deputy Dolors Sabater has asked that “the vote of the Catalans be respected” allowing their representatives to the European Parliament to move freely throughout the continent.