Exile's life 'will be in danger if she is extradited to Spain'

Elias Hubbard
July 12, 2018

Ahead of the meeting at Bute House in Edinburgh, Quim Torra said the event represented the "starting point" for a close relationship between Catalonia and Scotland.

SNP urges United Kingdom government to challenge Trump on his recordThe Catalan president was also in Scotland to give his support for Clara Ponsati, a former minister from the region facing extradition for her involvement in the controversial Catalan independence referendum a year ago.

Professor Ponsatí, a former education minister in the Catalan government, is fighting extradition to Spain for her part in the unauthorised Catalan independence referendum previous year.

Mr Anwar said: "We have a concern that if Clara is returned to a prison in Madrid that Spain can not and will not guarantee her safety and she faces a rela threat to her life whether it be from the authorities or fellow prisoners". Professor Ponsatí was part of the Catalan administration which organised the referendum in October and, like other members of that government, she... This was rejected by Madrid, which then suspended autonomy in the region - with direct rule only being lifted in June 2018 when Mr Torra's government was sworn in.

The Spanish authorities have issued arrest warrants against several former Catalan ministers, including Ms Ponsati and Mr Torra's predecessor, Carles Puigdemont.

It added: "Both leaders discussed the challenging and complex political situation in Catalonia, and agreed that the way forward for Catalonia must be through peaceful and democratic solutions involving dialogue between the Spanish and Catalan authorities, respecting the right to self-determination of the Catalan people". Maybe Scotland in the future has to take a decision like that.

She is a professor of economics at the University of St Andrews but is wanted in Spain to face charges of rebellion and misappropriation of public funds, charges that she denies. Yesterday her lawyer Aamar Anwar warned that if Professor Ponsati ended up in a Spanish jail she could be killed by the authorities or fellow prisoners.

She can only be extradited if a Scottish court decides that the offences she is accused of would constitute crimes here, and prosecutors hope to use a treason offence of "levying war in the realm" - which dates back to 1351.

Her case will be heard at Edinburgh Sheriff Court this summer.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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