Monday 23 July 2018

Ex-Catalan minister Carla Ponsati hands herself in to police in Scotland

Clara Ponsati had been teaching at the University of St Andrews (David Cheskin/PA)
Clara Ponsati had been teaching at the University of St Andrews (David Cheskin/PA)

Catriona Webster

A former member of Catalonia's regional government is preparing to hand herself in to police in Scotland after a European arrest warrant was issued, the force has said.

Police Scotland said it had been in contact with a solicitor for Clara Ponsati, the former Catalan education minister.

A Spanish judge issued arrest warrants on Friday for Ms Ponsati and other fugitive politicians including Catalonia's ex-leader Carles Puigdemont, who has now been detained by German police.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "We can confirm 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."

Earlier this month Ms Ponsati revealed on social media that she had returned to working at the University of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland.

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She had been in Belgium since fleeing Spain along with Mr Puigdemont and three other former cabinet members following an unsuccessful bid to declare independence from Spain in October.

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.

"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."

Press Association

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