ON Monday morning, Clara Ponsati's solicitor Aamer Anwar delivered a speech on the steps of Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Ponsati had been facing a legal battle following an international arrest warrant issued by Spain for her role in the Catalan referendum.

The warrant was recently dropped.

This is the full text of Anwar's statement.


I have a statement to issue on behalf of Professor Clara Ponsati, today the arrest warrant for Clara was officially withdrawn. This is a humiliating defeat for the Spanish state which since October 1st has unleashed a wave of repression attacking the Catalan people, suspending their Government, jailing or trying to jail independence leaders.

The Spanish state systematically used law as a weapon of war to try and eliminate their Catalan opponents, but they have persecuted not just politicians but also teachers, comedians, poets and rappers.

The ‘decapitation and liquidation’ of the Catalan Government was the sole-purpose of the European Arrest warrants as Spain twisted and broke the law, but in court after court across Europe, Spain’s reputation has been damaged, the failures are spectacular and ultimately the warrants were withdrawn through the fear of failure.

On the first day that Clara appeared in court, we stated that we would put the Spanish judiciary ‘on trial’ within our courts, exposing them to the full glare of judicial scrutiny in our independent and robust courts. It was our intention to announce today that we would cite to court ex-ministers- Prime Minister Rajoy, Deputy PM Sorayas Saez de Santamaria and the Finance Minister Montoro as well as international human rights observers.

This case was about Spain’s abuse of the judicial system to undermine the very principles they stand for: the rule of law, the sanctity of life, and the right to free speech.

Clara an esteemed University Professor if extradited faced up to 33 years for peacefully promoting a referendum. The European Arrest Warrant was never meant to be used as a tool of political repression and we would ask for both the Scottish and UK Government to raise such abuse with their European Union.

The arrest warrant accused Clara of orchestrating violence at over 2000 polling booths, yet Spain was unable to specify a single act of violence or incitement attributable to Clara. There was of course no mention of the brutal violence deployed by several thousand Spanish Police and 6000 state security forces on a people simply trying to vote.

We were ready to argue that in the 21st Century a peaceful democratic expression of self-determination through the voting process is not, and could never be, a criminal offence. The calling for and holding of a referendum, regardless of its legal status cannot be criminalized. In Scotland the law of treason has not been used for centuries and it is a common occurrence for people to call for a republic with no threat of prosecution. There has been no prosecution under any part of the Treason Act since 1883 in this country and sedition was abolished in 2011, these are archaic and redundant offences which limit freedom of speech.

The warrants are a monstrous distortion of the truth, yet Spain’s legal strategy has backfired spectacularly from Belgium, Switzerland, to Germany and now Scotland.

Since October the 1st the Spanish State has acted with total impunity allowing its judiciary to wage legal warfare on a democratically elected Catalan Government, allowing its security forces to engage in indiscriminate violence whilst suppressing political dissent, meanwhile the European Union has been complicit through its silence.

Since the collapse of its case against Carles Puigdemont, the Spanish Supreme Court is accused of being driven by vengeance, total contempt and lack of respect for international law and human rights.

The withdrawal of the warrants is a tremendous victory, but there can be no mood for celebration whilst nine Catalans are held as political hostages and Clara remains a political exile unable to return home for at least 20 years.

If PM Sanchez is not dictated to by the ghost of Franco and is genuinely interested in a political solution, then he must move to release all political prisoners and allow the return of all exiles without condition. In the meantime we are advised to remain on standby as Judge Llarena could reissue a European Arrest Warrant as he has done in the past.

In conclusión Clara would like me to thank her legal team, the people of Scotland, the UK, her fellow Catalans and Europeans as well as the SNP, the Green Party, the STUC, Scottish Government, Crowd Justice and the University of St. Andrews who have given her such love and support.