Ex-Catalan minister Clara Ponsati arrested in Scotland

Ex-Catalan minister Clara Ponsati arrested in Scotland

Ex-Catalan minister Clara Ponsati arrested in Scotland

Former Catalan minister Clara Ponsati had earlier turned herself in to authorities in Scotland face arrest under a European warrant.

Clara Ponsati, Catalonia's former education chief, is preparing a "robust" legal challenge to the charges, stemming from her role in Catalonia's unsuccessful effort to declare independence from Spain.

Held in front of Sheriff Nigel Ross at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, the hearing lasted less than 10 minutes and saw the academic granted bail and instructed to surrender her passport.

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.

"She submits that Spain has not followed due process and can not guarantee the independence of the judiciary and has repeatedly abused the human rights of the Catalan people".

A crowd-funding appeal set up on Wednesday to pay for her legal costs had raised more than £158,000 by mid-afternoon.

Her lawyer says she views the charges - which could attract a jail term of up to 30 years - as "political persecution" and believes that her human rights cannot be guaranteed in Spain.

"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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On her behalf, he thanked the staff at the university, the "many hundreds of thousands of ordinary people" who had backed her, as well as Sturgeon and the Scottish government.

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

"Clara respects the fact that her fate now lies in the hands of Scotland's independent judicial system".

A Spanish judge last week issued worldwide and European arrest warrants for Ponsati and other separatist leaders, including former regional president Carles Puigdemont.

Wolfgang Schomburg, a German attorney representing Puigdemont, urged the Berlin German government to immediately make clear it would not under any circumstances approve his extradition.

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.

The referendum took place under tense conditions on October 1, despite calls to Catalan leaders from the central Madrid government to call it off.

Ms Ponsati, who denies the charges, fled Spain with the autonomous community's ex-leader Carles Puigdemont and three other cabinet members and initially headed for Belgium.

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