Ex-Catalan Minister Gives Herself up to Edinburgh Police

29 March, 2018, 01:37 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Mass protests demanded Catalan independence

Clara Ponsati, ex-Catalan education minister, has faced charges of "violent rebellion and misappropriation of public funds" over her role in a controversial referendum on Catalonia's independence.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "We can confirm that this morning, Wednesday March 28 2018, Clara Ponsati attended St Leonard's Police Station in Edinburgh voluntarily with her solicitor where she was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant".

She will appear at an initial extradition hearing later today before a full hearing in several weeks' time.

She denies the charges and is set to embark on a legal fight to resist the attempts to have her returned Spain.

Her lawyer Aamer Anwar said she will provide a "robust" legal challenge to the charges, which he said amount to political persecution. He and 12 other separatist leaders were officially charged with rebellion. Scotland, you have been true friends to people of Catalonia in their darkest hours.

She was placed under arrest and formally had the European Arrest Warrant read to her.

'Clara remains defiant and resolute and believes that the Spanish Government will never be able to crush the spirit of the Catalan people'.

Earlier Ponsati, a former Catalan education minister who is now a professor at Scotland's prestigious University of St Andrews, handed herself into police with her lawyer saying she would oppose extradition.

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Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly said she supports the right of the Catalan people to determine their own future, and has criticised the Spanish government's decision to arrest and imprison pro-independence Catalan politicians.

"Clara wishes to thank Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish Government and politicians for their solidarity".

"Clara is pleased that bail was granted by the Scottish Courts and grateful for the respect and dignity that she was given by Police Scotland and the Scottish Court Service".

Ponsati then returned to the University of St Andrews, northeast of Edinburgh, where she had formerly worked, and is a professor in the school of economics and finance.

Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who faces similar charges, was taken into custody in Germany at the weekend.

Mr Anwar said of Prof Ponsati: 'She is truly humbled by the support she has received from across Scotland as well as that of the Scottish Government, but believes that it is right that our courts must now decide what happens next'.

Puigdemont fled Spain to avoid arrest five months ago after the Catalan parliament's declaration of independence.

Image copyright PA Image caption Protests against Prof Ponsati's extradition have been held outside the Spanish consulate in Edinburgh What does the Scottish government say?

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