THE Catalan parliament has passed a symbolic motion affirming the right of Carles Puigdemont to be re-elected as president, even though he is in jail and facing a possible trial.

Pro-independence parties used their slim majority to approve the motion yesterday and continue their defiance of the Spanish government, which has rejected the Yes result of last year’s vote.

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Puigdemont fled Barcelona to avoid arrest five months ago after the Catalan parliament’s declaration of independence. The Madrid authorities ousted him, cracked down on independence-supporting activists and imposed direct rule.

The Spanish Supreme Court has charged the 55-year-old politician with rebellion. He was detained in Germany on Sunday on a European arrest warrant. German authorities are due to decide on his extradition.

Meanwhile, the SNP MSP Christina McKelvie has raised the plight of the Catalan academic Professor Clara Ponsati – who works at St Andrews University – at a number of human rights’ debates held at the Council of Europe Congress in Strasbourg yesterday and Tuesday.

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“I raised Professor Ponsati case today and yesterday,” McKelvie told The National. “I told the meeting European arrest warrants should be used against terrorists, organised criminals and drug traffickers, and not for political purposes. I said we do them a disservice if they are used for those ends. Professor Ponsati is a Scottish resident – she is one of us.”

McKelvie said that after the meeting she was quietly thanked by Catalan students observing the proceedings. However, she said there were no Catalan representatives at the meeting despite the region being a member of the organisation.

“I got a positive reaction from many countries, including those which have experienced the horrors of unresolved constitutional situations,” she said.

READ MORE: Why Clara Ponsati may have no case to answer in Scotland

“Catalan students observing the proceedings thanked me afterwards. There were no Catalan representatives at the meeting. Catalonia is normally represented, but from what I understand they have not been allowed to go.”

External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop has written to the Spanish ambassador in London outlining the Scottish Government’s concerns over Spain’s pursuit of Ponsati through the Scottish courts.

The National phoned the Spanish ambassador to seek a comment to Hyslop’s intervention, but no response was given to our newspaper.

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Earlier this week Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said the Scottish Government would be raising concerns over the use of European Arrest Warrants with the European Commission. Senior SNP MSP Alex Neil, a prominent Eurosceptic, said the response by the Brussels authorities to those concerns would be a “litmus test” on how the EU sees Scotland. He said he had no faith that Jean-Paul Juncker would take Scotland’s concerns seriously and deal with them in a positive manner.

The Catalan crisis and pursuit of Ponsati has provoked anger particularly among Scottish independence supporters. Labour MEP Catherine Stihler, who opposes Scottish independence, has also condemned the use of European Arrest Warrants to pursue Ponsati.