Friday, 19 October, 2018

Former Catalan Education Minister Ponsati Going to Surrender to UK Authorities

Mass protests demanded Catalan independence Mass protests demanded Catalan independence
Faye Gross | 29 March, 2018, 02:03

A former Catalan government minister is set to be extradited from Scotland to Spain if an arrest warrant is approved by the Scottish courts.

The former education minister, who is now a professor at the University of Saint Andrews, has been living in Scotland since Spain issued an arrest warrant for her last November.

Spain's pursuit of the professor of economics in this way has exposed divisions between the administrations in Edinburgh, which supports Catalan self-determination, and...

She has received support from members of the Scottish National Party (SNP), which runs the devolved government in Edinburgh, which has condemned arrest warrants issued for the Catalan politicians. "The fact that our justice system is legally obliged to follow due process in the determination of extradition requests does not change those views".

Amid protests in Catalonia over the Spanish crackdown on separatists, the dispute will arrive in a court in Edinburgh, where Ms Ponsati will appear to begin the fight against her extradition.

Ms Ponsatí's lawyer, Aamer Anwar, maintains that the prosecution is "political" and will argue that the Spanish courts can not "guarantee independence, human rights or justice".

The academic denies the charges and is opposing her extradition to Spain, where the offences carry a maximum jail sentence of 33 years.

Ms Ponsati returned to Scotland earlier this month, having been in Belgium since fleeing Spain with Mr Puigdemont and three other former cabinet members following an unsuccessful bid to declare independence from Spain in October.

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Her solicitor Mr Anwar said on Tuesday: 'I understand that Clara Ponsati faces charges of violent rebellion and misappropriation of public funds which relates to the organising of the referendum, which my client utterly refutes. The professor at the University of St. Andrews returned to Scotland in March after leaving Spain.

"She does not believe that the Spanish courts can guarantee independence, human rights or justice".

Despite his detention, the separatist-controlled Catalan parliament on Wednesday defended Puigdemont's right to be a candidate again to head the regional government.

Anwar thanked the "many hundreds of thousands of ordinary people" who had backed Ponsati, including Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

He says "Clara remains defiant and resolute and believes that the Spanish government will never be able to crush the spirit of the Catalan people".

Spain's Supreme Court aims to try 25 Catalan leaders for rebellion and other charges which could lead to prison senetnces of 25 years if they are convicted.

On Monday, a group of protesters congregated outside the Spanish consulate in Edinburgh to demonstrate against the arrest warrant and the actions of the Spanish Government.

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