Catalan parliament defies Spain again with vote on leader

29 March, 2018, 02:07 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Clara Ponsatí the former Catalan education minister with her leader and fellow fugitive Carles Puigdemont

Ponsati and Anwar's arrival was preceded by both a heavy media presence and a group of demonstrators, some displaying Catalan flags in solidarity with the former education minister, who is facing extradition on charges of "violent rebellion" and misappropriation of funds during the Catalan independence referendum of October 2017.

Amid protests in Catalonia over the Spanish crackdown on separatists, the dispute will arrive in a court in Edinburgh, where Ms Ponsati will appear to begin the fight against her extradition.

Her lawyer Aamer Anwar said he was preparing her for a court appearance today where she intends to fight extradition.

A FORMER Catalan minister wanted by Spanish authorities has been bailed by a court in Scotland - after a crowdfunder to block her extradition rocketed to more than £160,000.

Her lawyer Aamer Anwar said he will oppose her extradition to Spain under the arrest warrant as it represents "a systematic attempt to criminalise the desire for independence".

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The arrest coincided with that of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont. The professor at the University of St. Andrews returned to Scotland in March after leaving Spain.

He said Ms Ponsati has never committed a criminal offence and welcomes the support from the Scottish Government and people of Scotland.

"She does not believe that the Spanish courts can guarantee independence, human rights or justice". A crowdfunding campaign on CrowdJustice has so far raised over £100,000 for her legal costs.

Despite sympathy for Catalonia among Scotland's independence movement and the SNP membership, the Scottish government won't do anything concrete to defend Catalan democracy.

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

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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".

She fled later that month with Puigdemont and three other former ministers to Brussels, after Spain dismissed the Catalan executive and imposed direct rule.

Spain's Supreme Court on Friday opened prosecutions against 13 members of the separatist government for rebellion and misuse of public funds, charges that could see them jailed for up to 30 years.

Their supporters argue that the ex-ministers should not be extradited because they will not receive a fair trial in Spain, hoping for a repeat of a recent Irish court ruling in which a man's extradition to Poland was referred to the European Union courts over concerns about the rule of law in Poland.

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