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Judge rules to release Catalan leader wanted by Spain

Carles Puigdemont (Niall Carson/PA)
Carles Puigdemont (Niall Carson/PA)

A judge in Sardinia says she has ruled that Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont should be released from jail on the Italian island and is even free to travel ahead of an October 4 extradition hearing.

Puigdemont is wanted in Spain for sedition for leading a secession bid for the Catalonia region, where he served as regional president at the time.

He was taken into custody on Thursday night when he arrived at an airport in Alghero, Sardinia.

He had been invited to attend a Catalan cultural event as well as a meeting a few days later of Sardinian independence sympathisers on the Mediterranean island.

Sardinia has strong Catalan cultural roots and its own independence movement.

Police transferred Puigdemont to a jail in the city of Sassari on Thursday night after he was detained on an international warrant at Alghero’s airport.

Alghero, a city on the island’s north-west coast, is hosting the traditional Catalan folklore festival that Puigdemont had been to attend.

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