A St Andrews University academic fighting extradition from the UK for her role in Catalonia’s unsanctioned 2017 independence referendum has delayed handing herself into the Scottish authorities.
Clara Ponsati, who was education minister in the Catalan government, had intended to hand herself over to police in Edinburgh on Thursday after a new European arrest warrant was issued on Tuesday.
She is wanted in Spain on a charge of sedition, which she denies.
However, her lawyer Aamer Anwar said “glaring contradictions” in a “rambling” 59-page warrant were now being challenged and it had been returned to Spain.
Mr Anwar said: “It is the norm for the European Arrest Warrant to be checked for accuracy before being passed to the state from which extradition is being sought.
“Recently failures by Spain to follow EAW procedures led to delays on the warrant being accepted by Belgium for the extradition of former President, Carles Puigdemont.
“Early this morning the translated warrant for Clara arrived and clarity is now being sought by the UK authorities on the warrant from Spain.
“Over the last 24 hours, we have been translating the Spanish warrant in our possession issued by a senior Judge Pablo Lllarena.
“There appears to be glaring contradictions contained in a ‘rambling’ warrant stretching to some 59 pages, which jumps from ‘Rebellion’ to ‘Sedition’, whilst Clara Ponsati is accused of sedition she only briefly mentioned on two pages, with no clarity as to her role.
“We note the warrant begins with the activities of the ‘Independence’ movement in December 2012. However, Clara Ponsati only returned to become education minister on July 14, 2017.
“The warrant has now been returned to Spain seeking clarification, which means Professor Clara Ponsati will not be appearing at the Edinburgh Police Office on Thursday November 7 and the court hearing is cancelled.”
Mr Anwar said that provisionally it is expected that Clara will hand herself into the authorities on Thursday November 14 at 11am, but will provide an update as soon as this is confirmed.
He added: “The shambolic ‘arrogant’ attempts at extradition by Spain should be a source of deep embarrassment to them. This is now Spain’s third attempt to extradite Clara and they stand accused of abusing the European Arrest Warrant process.
“We are instructed to robustly defend Clara in what she claims to be a ‘judicially motivated act of vengeance’ against the Catalan politicians.
“Our legal team is also monitoring closely the ‘hard-line’ statements by President Pedro Sanchez, where he boasts of controlling the public prosecutor in the extradition process.
“Such statements makes a total mockery of the Spanish state’s claim to have the ‘separation of powers’.
“We are putting politicians such as Pedro Sanchez on notice, that we will not hesitate to cite them as witnesses to our courts, to answer questions on their alleged interference with the Spanish judiciary, lack of impartiality and any political motivation over the extradition process.”