CATALONIA’S former education minister Professor Clara Ponsati is facing “a death sentence” if she is extradited from Scotland to Spain, her solicitor Aamer Anwar has claimed.

Speaking exclusively to The National, Anwar and Prof Ponsati said the forthcoming hearing on the European Arrest Warrant issued by the Spanish courts “will make history” with the latter saying the Spanish Government is out for “vengeance.”

In his strongest statements on the case yet, Anwar pointed out that if extradited, his client could face four years detention without trial and if found guilty, the 61-year-old economics professor at St Andrews University would be jailed for up to 33 years.

He said: “The reality of what we are talking about here is a death sentence. The Spanish Government will not shy away from imposing the maximum sentence.”

There is a very real human factor in the case. Prof Ponsati spoke about her colleagues held in Spanish jails.

She said: “They are keeping strong and hopeful, but it’s extremely difficult for them because some have very young children and it’s a very brutal situation because not only are they in prison but they are in prison 600 kilometres from home, so there’s all the travel back and forth with the children –it’s really extra aggravation for the families on top of having their men unjustifiably held in prison.

Ponsati said her resolve is strengthening because of Spain’s intransigence, saying: “This isn’t about justice, this is vengeance, this is a hijack. I feel there is no way Spain can make the argument that they are a democracy when they are behaving the way they are.”

Anwar’s high-powered team of senior lawyers includes Gordon Jackson QC, the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, and Claire Mitchell QC, recognised for her expertise in human rights law, confirming that the European Convention on Human Rights and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration on Human Rights will be playing a major role in Ponsati’s case.

Anwar said: “Spain stands accused of abusing the European Arrest Warrant. Central to the whole question of the warrant is the issue of human rights. This case will make history because this is a political prosecution and for the first time in Scotland and the UK you will see a foreign government put on trial for its abuse of the process.” Of the European Union countries who have refused to criticise and even outrightly backed Spain, Ponsati said: “All these governments are democratic governments which have signed the charter of human rights. They are all members of the United Nations so they have a duty to uphold human rights. What Spain is doing is a total violation of human rights.”

“The Spanish Government is not obeying Spain’s own law. What has happened is not legal according to Spanish law. Spain has reasonable laws, but they are not respecting them when it comes to this case.”

Ponsati said she is heartened by the support from people in Scotland, particularly from St Andrews University, and thinks the tide is turning against the Spanish Government.

She said: “People across the world are taking notice. Across the European Union, public opinion is changing as people realise what Spain is doing in this situation, and the way they are managing what is a constitutional crisis as if it was a war situation.”

Last night the crowdfunding page for Prof Ponsati’s defence had reached nearly £250,000 with a target of £300,000 – you can find it at

Anwar admitted that the target might have to be raised.

If Ponsati wins her case, the Spanish Government will almost certainly appeal the judgement all the way to the very expensive UK Supreme Court.