March 26, 2018 / 10:59 AM / 8 months ago

Ex-Catalan minister will fight extradition to Spain from Scotland - lawyer

File Photo: Sacked Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and former member of the Government of Catalonia Clara Ponsati attend a news conference at the Press Club Brussels Europe in Brussels, Belgium, October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Catalan education minister Clara Ponsati will fight an international order for her extradition to Spain from Scotland, arguing that as a secessionist leader she is not guaranteed a fair trial, her lawyer said on Monday.

The European arrest warrant was one of a series issued to leaders of Catalonia’s independence movement on charges of rebellion, embezzlement or disobeying the state.

“This is a political persecution, a systematic attempt to criminalise the desire for independence,” lawyer Aamer Anwar told BBC radio. “We believe that if she is sent back to Spain then she will suffer inhuman and degrading treatment, that the independence of the judiciary in Spain cannot be guaranteed.”

Ponsati, who is a professor at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews, will present herself at court in Edinburgh and will apply for bail, Anwar said.

The case is being closely watched in Scotland, where the nationalist devolved government said on Sunday that although it supports Catalonia’s right to self-determination, it would respect the judicial process.

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont was due to appear in a German court on Monday at the start of an extradition process. Puigdemont was detained in Germany on Sunday, five months after going into self-imposed exile in Belgium.

Reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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