A Spanish judge on Friday issued international and European arrest warrants for Clara Ponsati and other separatist leaders, including former regional president Carles Puigdemont.
After Puigdemont was arrested in Germany, a Police Scotland spokesman said: “We can confirm that we are in possession of a European arrest warrant for Clara Ponsati.
“We have made a number of enquiries to try to trace her and have now been contacted by her solicitor, who is making arrangements for Ms Ponsati to hand herself into police.”
We can confirm that we are in possession of a European arrest warrant for Clara Ponsati. We have made a number of enquiries to try to trace her and have now been contacted by her solicitor, who is making arrangements for Ms Ponsati to hand herself into police.
— Police Scotland (@policescotland) March 25, 2018
Her lawyer Aamer Anwar said she was “shocked, she's horrified but she's resolute” in preparing to fight the extradition bid.
I am instructed 2defend Clara Posanti from Spain’s attempts 2extradite her on the basis that this is viewed as a political persecution & there is no guarantee of her human rights being respected in the Spanish Courts #Catalonia https://t.co/H6iCPkcqfZ
— Aamer Anwar (@AamerAnwar) March 25, 2018
“The Spanish authorities have overplayed their game,” he told Sky News television.
“Repeatedly over the last several months, they have shown themselves to act outwith the norms of democracy, outwith the norms of judicial process and a fair and independent judiciary.
“It is a political prosecution is what will be argued, and, secondly, we do not think that the Spanish authorities can guarantee an independent judicial process that will treat Clara fairly.”
Ponsati was a minister in the Catalan government when it declared independence from the rest of Spain following a referendum in October.
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Spain's Supreme Court said it would prosecute 13 key separatists including Ponsati for “rebellion”, a crime which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in jail.
She fled later that month with Puigdemont and three other former ministers to Brussels, after Spain — which declared the referendum illegal — dismissed the Catalan executive and imposed direct rule.
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.
She told the BBC earlier this month that the Madrid government and parts of the Spanish judiciary “were determined to violate human rights in order to repress the leadership of the Catalan referendum”.
“As a member of the government that called for, organised, this referendum, I was pretty sure I would have gone to prison had I stayed,” she said.
She condemned the imprisonment of Catalan leaders in Spain as an “outrage”.
Ponsati has received support from members of the Scottish National Party, who hold power in the devolved government in Edinburgh and advocate secession from the United Kingdom.
However, Scottish first minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon made clear Sunday that politicians “have no powers to intervene” in the extradition process.
“It is well established that the Scottish government supports the right of the people of Catalonia to determine their own future and that we strongly oppose the Spanish government's decision to seek the arrest and imprisonment of independence-supporting politicians,” she said in a statement.
To all those angered by latest developments on #Catalonia, please read @scotgov statement below. Our support for Catalan self determination and strong opposition to Spain’s decision to seek the arrest and imprisonment of independence supporting politicians is well established 1/ pic.twitter.com/GIfgptAzqS
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) March 25, 2018
Ponsati did not respond to an AFP request for comment.