Released Catalan separatist Puigdemont meets Sardinian politicians

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After his brief detention, Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont has been treated more like an official guest on the Italian island of Sardinia.

The EU parliamentarian pledged Catalonia’s solidarity with representatives of Sardinia’s independence movement on Sunday, to great applause, newspaper La Vanguardia reported.

He called on the European Union to recognize the diversity of its peoples and their national, cultural and linguistic characteristics.

The current head of Catalonia’s regional government, Pere Aragonès, also flew to Sardinia at short notice to show his support for Puigdemont.

Puigdemont also met the governor of Sardinia, Christian Solinas, and was received by the mayor of the city of Alghero, Mario Conoci.

Puigdemont was led away by police upon his arrival to the city in north-western Sardinia on Thursday and was set free a day later by a judge.

The Spanish judiciary accuses the 58-year-old of sedition and misuse of public funds over the illegal independence referendum of 2017 and the attempted secession of Catalonia, and wants to put him on trial.

However, it was considered unlikely that Italy would hand him over to Spain. The competent court in Sassari only ordered Puigdemont to appear at a hearing on October 4. The Catalan, who was due to travel back to his current residence in Belgium on Monday, agreed to do so.

Puigdemont had fled abroad in autumn 2017. His comrades-in-arms at the time who had not done so were sentenced to prison terms of between nine and 13 years. They were pardoned last June.