Former Catalan minister arrested under extradition warrant

Former Catalan minister Clara Ponsati has been arrested and will appear in court in Edinburgh as Spanish authorities seek her extradition.

Ms Ponsati, a professor at St Andrews University, handed herself in to police on Thursday as she faces a charge of sedition over her role in Catalonia’s unsanctioned independence referendum in 2017.

She could be sentenced to 15 years behind bars if convicted, with nine other Catalan officials given jail sentences of between nine and 13 years for the same offence last month.

Speaking outside St Leonard’s police office in Edinburgh, Ms Ponsati’s lawyer Aamer Anwar said: “We believe this is an abuse of the extradition process, we believe this is an abuse of the European Arrest Warrant.

“The crime of sedition is a 16th-century offence that was created by kings and queens to stop backlash from ordinary people that wanted their rights.

“Luckily in Scotland, sedition was abolished a long time ago.

“We will be fighting this on the basis of Clara’s human rights being abused if she is returned back to Spain.”

Ms Ponsati is expected to be transferred to Edinburgh Sheriff Court for a hearing later on Thursday and her legal team will apply for bail.

The academic had been expected to hand herself in to police last week, but her legal team said there were “glaring contradictions” in the extradition warrant issued for her arrest.

However, the warrant has been accepted by UK authorities for execution following a clarification from Spain’s Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena.

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