THE solicitor for Professor Clara Ponsati, the former Catalonian education minister who faces deportation to Spain and 33 years in jail, has hit out at what he calls Spain’s abuse of the European Arrest Warrant process.

In an exclusive interview with The National, Aamer Anwar also slams what he calls the “Francoism” of the judiciary in Spain and severely criticises the Labour Party and LibDems for their support of the Spanish Government. He didn’t have to mention Theresa May’s government or the Tories because their pro-Spain stance is a given.

READ MORE: Lawyer Anwar: Ponsati faces a death sentence if extradited

Anwar revealed that the person responsible for getting him the job of lawyer to Prof Ponsati was Tricia Marwick, the former Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. He also told The National that human rights would be at the centre of Ponsati’s defence against extradition, because Spain does not comply with human rights charters and international law.

Anwar claimed in yesterday’s National that 61-year-old Ponsati faces “a death sentence” if she is extradited as the Spanish Government will seek a maximum 33-year sentence for her alleged crimes of violent rebellion and misuse of public funds.

He sees the shade of General Franco, the military dictator who ruled Spain from 1939 until his death in 1975, over what is happening just now.

Anwar said: “Spain has systematically abused the European Arrest Warrant right across Europe, relying on their European colleagues and thinking that they would arrest the members of the Catalan Government and transfer them back to Spain immediately.

“What they did not countenance is the fact that underlying the warrant system is the fundamental issue of human rights.

“What we have described as a politically-motivated prosecution, not just of Clara but the other members of the Catalan Government, will see Spain exposed for its lack of due process within the country, such as the right to fair trial.

“What we are seeing taking place in Spain smacks of Francoism in the way the Spanish Government and judiciary are conducting themselves.”

Anwar is furious at various politicians and parties for backing the Spanish Government who have said that the country’s laws must be upheld despite breaching human rights for those facing extradition and those already held in jail for six months far from their homes.

He said: “When our politicians, not all the politicians, but the vast majority of our politicians including the Labour and Liberal Democratic parties, say Clara should go home and face the music, she broke the law and that’s it, well they don’t seem to understand the situation.

“If I said to them without mentioning the word Spain that there is a country that has specifically-elected judges put in place because of their tradition and history connected to Francoism and right-wing parties, if I said that those judges are put in place because of who they are and what they believe in, that they decide the guilt of these individuals before they even get to court, that the individuals can be held in prison for four years before they get put on trial, and that ultimately there is no right of appeal – if you get found guilty by the supreme court of Spain there is no appeal – perhaps those politicians could tell me what is fair about that, what is democratic about that?

“Where is the justice, what is civilised about that? Absolutely nothing.

“It’s barbaric, it’s grotesque, its inhumane and it’s exactly what we criticise countries like Russia, countries in the Middle East and Africa for doing, but this is actually what we are seeing in a European country and they are backing it.

“I want Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party in particular to think about this. I was disgusted when I saw what (Glasgow Labour leader) Frank McAveety had to say. Did he forget that Glasgow flew the flag of the ANC and made Nelson Mandela a Freeman of the City, and that Mandela broke the law?”

Anwer continued: “We have never seen a case in the UK where the European Arrest Warrant has been used for a political purpose. I have seen the statements by Spanish ministers talking about decapitating the Catalan Government, and by that they mean putting people in jail or exile so they can silence the Catalan people.

“This is about criminalising the whole community and for what – for wanting the right to decide their future?

He added: “This is not about backing Catalan independence, its about the rule of law, and if you really believe in the rule of law you would back Clara Ponsati.”