ST Andrews University academic Professor Clara Ponsati will appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today for the latest hearing in her battle against extradition to Spain.

The former Catalan Education Minister is facing charges of rebellion and the misappropriation of public funds stemming from the October independence referendum.

Today’s is a procedural hearing, where her lawyer Aamer Anwar and her legal team will set out their arguments against the charges.

“Clara Ponsati still faces charges of violent rebellion and the misappropriation of public funds which my client utterly refutes,” said Anwar.

“In recent days there have been many rumours that the Spanish authorities may attempt to ‘water down’ the seriousness of charges to ones which carry the sentences of 12 to 25 years.

“Whatever the Spanish authorities intend to do, my instructions are to defend Clara against any extradition attempt for a political prosecution.”

He said that if extradited and convicted of the charges Ponsati could face sentences of up to 25 years and eight years respectively, and faced the real prospect of spending the rest of her natural life in prison.

However, Anwar said that at today’s hearing, “we will have lodged our draft legal submissions and allege the charges are ‘a politically motivated prosecution’”.

“Any attempt to extradite Clara is alleged to be unjust, oppressive and incompatible with her human rights,” he said.

Should the European Arrest Warrant brought by Spain not be dismissed today, a full extradition hearing will take place on July 30, with two weeks set aside for it.

Anwar added: “We will set out our stall in terms of arguments and procedural issues.

“Of course, there’s always the hope that the Spanish government decides to give up the game and call it off, but I suspect with the attitude of the Spanish authorities that’s highly unlikely to happen at this stage.”