ST ANDREWS University professor and former Catalan education minister Clara Ponsati has said she will continue fighting for civil rights in her home country and for the Republic of Catalonia.

The 61-year-old spoke outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court after Sheriff Nigel Ross formally withdrew a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) seeking her extradition to Spain on charges of violent rebellion and misappropriation of public funds over her role in Catalonia’s independence referendum last October.

A four-week hearing was due to start at in the Scottish capital at the end of this month, but last week, Spanish Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena dropped the extradition request.

That decision came after a German court ruled that Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia’s deposed and exiled president, could only be sent back to Spain on embezzlement charges and not the more serious allegation of rebellion. Ponsati handed herself in to police in Scotland in March. Ross told her yesterday: “As you know, the arrest warrant from Spain has been withdrawn and therefore it just remains for me formally to discharge you from the European Arrest Warrant. You are free to go.”

Outside the court, Ponsati said: “I am just determined to keep fighting for the freedom of all political prisoners, for civil rights in Catalonia and Spain and for the Republic of Catalonia.”

Her solicitor, Aamer Anwar, said: “This is a humiliating defeat for the Spanish state which since October 1 has unleashed a wave of repression, attacking the Catalan people, suspending their government and jailing or trying to jail independence leaders.

“The Spanish state systematically used law as a weapon of war to try to eliminate its Catalan opponents, but it has 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 The failures are spectacular and ultimately the warrants were withdrawn through the fear of failure.”

Anwar said Ponsati’s legal team was prepared to put the Spanish judiciary on trial in Scotland’s “independent and robust courts”.

He said: “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 Cristobal Montoro as well as inter-national human rights observers.

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

Anwar said the EAW system was never meant to be a tool of political repression and he said the Scottish and UK governments should raise such abuse with the European Union. “The arrest warrant accused Clara of orchestrating violence at more than 2000 polling booths, yet Spain was unable to specify a single act of violence or incitement attributable to Clara,” he said.

“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.

Anwar added: “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.”