Catalan independence drive

Scottish court releases Catalan separatist Clara Ponsatí on bail

The former regional minister handed herself in to police after British authorities agreed to act on a European arrest warrant over her involvement in the 2017 breakaway bid

Agencies
Former Catalan education minister, Clara Ponsatí, with her lawyer this Thursday.
Former Catalan education minister, Clara Ponsatí, with her lawyer this Thursday.NEIL HANNA (AFP)

A court in Scotland has released Catalan separatist Clara Ponsatí on bail and allowed her to keep her passport, according to her lawyer.

In Scotland, sedition was abolished a long time ago

Ponsatí’s lawyer Aamer Anwar

Ponsatí, a former education minister in the Catalan regional government, fled to Brussels with ousted Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont after the failed unilateral declaration of independence in October 2017, and is facing charges of sedition for her involvement in the breakaway bid. Puigdemont remained in Brussels, while Ponsatí later settled in Scotland.

Spain’s Supreme Court reactivated European arrest warrants for Ponsatí and two other former members of the Catalan government – Toni Comín and Lluís Puig – in early November, a month after handing down a decision in the trial of 12 other leaders of the 2017 secession bid.

The former regional minister handed herself in to police station in Edinburgh on Thursday, after the United Kingdom agreed to process the new warrant for her arrest. Ponsatí was accompanied by her lawyer, Aamer Anwar, who said that Spain was “abusing the extradition process.” “In Scotland, sedition was abolished a long time ago,” he added after his client had entered the police station.

Ponsatí handed herself in to police station in Edinburgh on Thursday

The UK’s SIRENE (Supplementary Information Request at the National Entries) office approved the European arrest warrant on November 8, shortly after receiving the “essential information” it had asked of Spain – specifically information regarding the nature of the offense, the time and place at which it was committed, and the connection between the offense and Ponsatí.

Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena, who is overseeing the case, sent back a document that outlined how Ponsatí’s actions helped the 2017 secession bid. In the document, Llarena replied: “[Ponsatí] disobeyed the resolutions and requirements reiterated by the Constitutional Court of Spain, as well as the order from the High Court of Catalonia [...] and carried out said actions aiming to hold an independence referendum, despite knowing about the illegality and invalidity of the process, which in the end led to violent acts, just as had been expected, all with the aim of altering the current legal and constitutional order.”

Ponsatí is scheduled to next appear in court on December 12.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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