THE case of former Catalan minister Professor Clara Ponsati is set to last for months after she was granted bail at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday.

The Spanish courts had issued a European Arrest Warrant charging Ponsati with “violent rebellion” and “misappropriation of public funds” over her role in helping to organise last year’s Catalonian independence referendum which the Spanish government had declared illegal.

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Yesterday morning Ponsati, a professor of economics at St Andrews University, went to St Leonard’s Police Station in Edinburgh along with her Scottish lawyer, Aamer Anwar, to hand herself in. She was formally served with the warrant and was then briefly kept in custody until she appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court just after 2pm.

The 18-page arrest warrant apparently lists 56 specific instances of alleged criminality, and has 34 additional pages of legal material. Despite the horrific pictures of violence against Catalonian independence supporters during the referendum, the warrant claims Ponsati was partly to blame for violence against the 6000 Spanish police officers who tried to stop the referendum.

During a brief hearing, Claire Mitchell, advocate for Ponsati, told Sheriff Nigel Ross that the warrant would be “robustly” contested. She said: “There will be a question of the validity of the warrant. Other issues will be whether these are indeed extradition offences.”

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Mitchell added that another issue would be whether the extradition would be “disproportionate and incompatible” with her rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

In such extradition cases under the European Arrest Warrant system, it is Scotland’s Crown Office, headed by the Lord Advocate, which takes the case on behalf of the arresting nation. Advocate depute Michal Meehan did not oppose bail, and Sheriff Ross ordered that Ponsati should surrender her passport as part of her bail conditions.

A preliminary hearing has been set for the Sheriff Court on April 12 with a full hearing on April 18.

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Speaking outside court, Ponsati’s lawyer Aamer Anwar said: “The 52-page warrant included the crimes of rebellion – punishable by up to 25 years in prison – as well as the crime of misappropriation of public funds, punishable with up to eight years’ imprisonment.

“Clara wishes for me to state that these charges are politically motivated and a grotesque distortion of the truth. She cannot believe that she’s being held responsible for the violence that took place on the day of the referendum.

“She believes that the Catalan people tried to express a democratic right to decide their own destiny and the only people that should be held responsible for the brutal violence was the Spanish police and the 6000 state security forces who attacked the Catalan people on behalf of the Spanish government.

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“She submits that Spain has not followed due process, cannot guarantee the independence of the judiciary and has repeatedly abused the human rights of the Catalan people.”

“As proceedings are live we will not go into the details of our defence.

“Clara is pleased that bail was granted by the Scottish courts and grateful for the respect and dignity that she was given by Police Scotland and the Scottish Court Service.

“The last few days have been difficult and there is a long road ahead. But she is truly humbled by the hundreds of thousands who have supported her, contributed to the legal fund and wishes also to thank the Scottish Government.

He continued: “Scotland you have been true friends to Catalonia in its darkest hours.

“Clara respects the fact her fate now lies in the hands of Scotland’s independent judicial system. That is what should happen in a democracy.”

A crowdfunding appeal to help pay for Ponsati’s legal costs had passed £200,000 by yesterday evening, five times more than the original target of £40,000.

Legal experts in Edinburgh say the case is unlikely to end on April 18, no matter who wins. If the extradition is granted, Ponsati will have the right to appeal that decision, as will the Crown on behalf of the Spanish authorities should the sheriff throw out the case which is now set to earn even more attention in future.