Warrant issued for Catalan ex-minister living in Scotland

European arrest warrant issued for Clara Ponsatí, an academic at St Andrews University.

Warrant: Clara Ponsatí is chair of Economics at St Andrews University. <strong>Generalitat de Catalunya</strong>
Warrant: Clara Ponsatí is chair of Economics at St Andrews University. Generalitat de Catalunya

A European arrest warrant has been issued for the Catalan government’s former education minister, who is now living in Scotland.

Clara Ponsatí was charged with rebellion following the regional government’s attempt to declare independence from Spain last year.

After initially moving to Belgium to escape prosecution, she came to Scotland where she is an academic at St Andrews University.

Police Scotland said they had been in touch with Ms Ponsatí’s lawyer, who was making arrangements for the academic to hand herself in to police.

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Nicola Sturgeon has responded by saying she opposed the Spanish authorities’ attempts to arrest the politicians but Scottish ministers had no powers to intervene.

A Spanish Supreme Court judge issued an indictment on Friday relating to charges against five former Catalan government ministers.

This led to former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont being arrested in Germany.

Ms Ponsatí is chair of Economics at St Andrews University.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “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.

“The fact that our justice system is legally obliged to follow due process in the determination of extradition requests does not change those views.

“Under the Extradition Act 2003, Scottish Ministers have no role in the determination of European Arrest Warrants.”

She continued: “Our police, prosecution service and courts are independent and are legally obliged under this UK legislation to fulfil their responsibilities.

“Scottish Ministers have no powers to intervene in this process.

“However, the legal process includes the right of any individual subject to proceedings under the 2003 Act to oppose their extradition in the courts and it is vital that the integrity of this process is protected – for that reason the Scottish Government will not comment further at this stage.”

A spokesman for St Andrews university said: “We’re aware that a warrant has been issued, we’re staying in close touch with Clara and will continue to monitor developments very carefully.”

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A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “We can confirm that we are in possession of a European arrest warrant for Clara Ponsatí.

“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 Ponsatí to hand herself into police.”


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