Former Catalan minister has international arrest warrant withdrawn

A former Catalan politician who has been fighting extradition to Spain has had her international arrest warrant formally withdrawn.

Professor Clara Ponsati, a St Andrews University academic, was arrested in March after handing herself in to police in Scotland.

It came after she was made the subject of a European Arrest Warrant, with the authorities in Madrid seeking her on charges of violent rebellion and misappropriation of public funds over her role in Catalonia’s controversial independence referendum in 2017.

A full extradition hearing lasting four weeks was set to get under way in Edinburgh at the end of this month.

However, on Thursday, a Spanish Supreme Court judge dropped the extradition request for the 61-year-old, an ex-Catalan education minister.

It came after a German court ruled last week that former regional president Carles Puigdemont could not be sent back to Spain for rebellion, only for embezzlement connected to the alleged misuse of public funds for a referendum on secession.

The warrant was formally discharged during a short hearing on Monday at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Sheriff Nigel Ross told her: “As you know the arrest warrant from Spain has been withdrawn and therefore it just remains for me formally to discharge you from the European Arrest Warrant.

“You are free to go.”

- Press Association

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