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Catalan ex-minister surrenders to police in Scotland

Catalan ex-minister surrenders to police in Scotland

Clara Ponsatí, a former education minister in the Catalan regional government, lives and works in St Andrews but faces arrest, a court appearance and extradition to Spain for her part in the failed attempt to secure independence for the region a year ago.

A former Catalan government minister has gave herself up to police in Edinburgh, Scotland under a European arrest warrant issued by Madrid.

Scottish-based Prof Ponsati attended a police station in Edinburgh voluntarily on Wednesday morning after she was made the subject of a European arrest warrant last week.

"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".

The former education minister is sought by Madrid on charges of "violent rebellion and misappropriation of public funds" regarding her role in Catalonia's October independence referendum.

Catalonia's parliament has passed a symbolic motion 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.

Spanish national police said on Wednesday that two Catalan regional officers who were traveling with him had also been arrested.




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

The bid to bring Ponsati to Spain to face trial has caused an outcry in Scotland, which held its own, legal, independence referendum in 2014, when 55 percent to 45 percent voted to remain in the U.K. St. Andrews University has said it is "deeply concerned by recent developments, their motives and potential consequences".

Clara Ponsati, Catalonia's former education chief and now a professor at the University of St. Andrews, returned to Scotland in March after fleeing Spain with Puigdemont.

"However it is absolutely right that the independence of the judiciary in Scotland is respected and that no government should ever interfere in that process".

Mr Anwar said Professor Ponsati had been "truly humbled" by the support she had received in Scotland, where many independence supporters have taken a keen interest in events in Catalonia. He is being held in prison pending an extradition hearing in a German court.

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.

Ms Ponsati's lawyer told the BBC yesterday that they would be challenging the rebellion charge, insisting that there was no similar crime in Scotland and that "the only people responsible for violence on [referendum] day were the Spanish police".


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