The Latest: Catalan official fights extradition in Scotland
MADRID (AP) — The Latest on the fallout from the Catalonia region’s attempt to break away from Spain (all times local):
The lawyer for a former minister in Catalonia’s government says a Spanish warrant that led his client’s arrest in Scotland should be considered invalid because the politician has committed no crime under Scottish law.
Clara Ponsati faces charges of violent rebellion and misappropriation of public funds over her role in Catalonia’s disputed independence referendum last year. Ponsati, a professor at St. Andrews University in Scotland, was arrested last month at Spain’s request.
Her lawyers said during a Thursday hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court that they would fight extradition on grounds that include the validity of the warrant and Ponsati’s human rights. The case is due to be heard in July.
Outside court, attorney Aamer Anwar accused Spanish authorities of “prosecuting Clara for her political opinions” and said her extradition would be “unjust and oppressive.”
Spanish prosecutors have unsuccessfully requested pre-trial detention for a woman believed to be a leader of Catalonia’s so-called Committees for the Defense of the Republic, a grassroots group that organizes pro-independence protests.
The public prosecutor argued Thursday that the woman’s actions have led to violence in the streets and asked the National Court to charge her with rebellion.
A judge recorded a lesser charge of public disorder and ordered her to be released with instructions to report to the court weekly.
The grassroots group has been behind the blocking of road and train lines in Catalonia to press their demand for independence.
Spain’s Supreme Court has turned down for a second time a request by a jailed leader of Catalonia’s independence movement to be released so that regional lawmakers can vote on making him their leader.
Judge Pablo Llarena said in a ruling published Thursday there remained a risk that Jordi Sanchez, a prominent secessionist, would repeat the offenses that landed him in a Madrid jail.
Llarena says the only new argument in Sanchez’s latest request was a reference to the U.N.’s Human Rights Committee calling for Spain to respect the rights of arrested Catalan separatists. The judge said the U.N. body had made no specific demand that might be binding on the Supreme Court.
Sanchez, who was elected to the Catalan parliament in December, hoped to attend a parliamentary session Friday.