Defiant Catalan academic Ponsati granted bail in fight to avoid Spanish extradition

29 March, 2018, 02:13 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Clara Ponsatí the former Catalan education minister with her leader and fellow fugitive Carles Puigdemont

Clara Ponsati, the former Catalan minister facing extradition from the United Kingdom to Spain on charges of fomenting rebellion, has described the claims as a "grotesque distortion of the truth".

Addressing the day's events, Anwar said: "Clara is pleased that bail was granted by the Scottish courts, and grateful for the respect and the dignity she was given by Police Scotland and the Scottish court service".

Ponsati is a professor at the University of St Andrews in Scotland and fled Spain with Puigdemont after Catalonia's referendum on declaring independence from Spain in November 2017.

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.

Ponsati's next hearing was set for April 12.

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

"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".

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. I put my faith the court of law, Scottish law in particular, and human rights issues, and I think that's obviously what the lawyer Aamer Anwar and the QCs are fighting about.

"Clara remains defiant, resolute and is determined to fight back".

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

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

Puigdemont, detained by German police at the border with Denmark, is now awaiting his extradition trial.

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.

"The only people that should be held responsible for the brutal violence was the Spanish police and the 6000 state security forces who attacked the Catalan people on behalf of the Spanish Government".

The Catalan regional administration has been under direct rule by Madrid and news of Puigdemont's arrest prompted demonstrations in Barcelona, which ended in clashes with the police.

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