Clara Ponsati: Scottish police arrest Catalan politician

Charlene Craig
March 29, 2018

Ponsati's lawyers had earlier said they will "robustly" reject charges of violent rebellion and misappropriation of public funds for helping to organise last year's independence referendum in Catalonia, which the government in Madrid deemed illegal.

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".

A hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff's Court, where a large crowd had gathered outside holding aloft Catalan flags, ruled that Ponsati be released on bail and that she should hand over her passport. A crowdfunding page set up to pay her legal costs has already raised 165,000 pounds ($232,600).

"Scotland you have been true friends to Catalonia in its darkest hours".

Catalonia's parliament passed a symbolic motion Wednesday affirming the right of the Spanish region's former separatist leader Carles Puigdemont to be re-elected to his old job, even though he is in jail and facing a possible trial.

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A Spanish court last week reactivated a European arrest warrant against Puigdemont on charges of sedition and rebellion.

It is expected police will place her under arrest and formally serve the European Arrest Warrant on her.

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

"She is now attending a police station in Scotland and has said the outpouring of supportive messages and contributions has been truly inspirational to her and given her the drive, determination and spirit to take on this fight".

"Clara views these charges as 'political persecution" and submits that her human rights and justice can not be guaranteed in the Spanish Courts.

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"She wants to thank the many hundreds of thousands of ordinary people especially in Scotland who have shown her such love and support".

"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".

"She is truly humbled by the unconditional support from students, colleagues and the principal at St Andrews University".

A Spanish judge issued arrest warrants on Friday for Prof Ponsati and the other fugitive politicians, including Mr Puigdemont, who was detained by police in Germany.

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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While Sturgeon has backed the Catalan politicians, she has also made clear that politicians have "no powers to intervene" in the extradition process.

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