SCOTTISH First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has responded to the news that Clara Ponsati, a former Catalan minister who returned to St Andrews University recently, is the subject of a European Arrest Warrant.

Ponsati fled to Scotland as Spain cracked down on those responsible for Catalonia's declaration of independence, following an overwhelming vote in favour of the move in a referendum.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It is well established that the Scottish Government supports the right of the people of Catalonia to determine their own future and that we strongly oppose the Spanish Government’s decision to seek the arrest and imprisonment of independence supporting politicians.

“The fact that our justice system is legally obliged to follow due process in the determination of extradition requests does not change those views.

“Under the Extradition Act 2003, Scottish Ministers have no role in the determination of European Arrest Warrants. Our police, prosecution service and courts are independent and are legally obliged under this UK legislation to fulfil their responsibilities. Scottish Ministers have no powers to intervene in this process.

“However, the legal process includes the right of any individual subject to proceedings under the 2003 Act to oppose their extradition in the courts and it is vital that the integrity of this process is protected – for that reason the Scottish Government will not comment further at this stage."

The First Minister also commented on the matter on social media.

Police Scotland have confirmed that they are aware of the European Arrest Warrant.

A spokesman said: "We can confirm we are in possession of a European arrest warrant for Clara Ponsati. We have made a number of enquiries to try to trace her and have now been contacted by her solicitor, who is making arrangements for Ms Ponsati to hand herself into police."

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