CLARA Ponsati, the MEP and academic who faced extradition charges for her part in the unsanctioned Catalonia independence referendum, has been arrested after returning to Spain for the first time in five years.

The former University of St Andrews scholar posted a picture of herself in Barcelona after challenging the Supreme Court of Spain to enforce its arrest warrant against her.

Appearing at the Colegio de Periodistas de Cataluna (College of Catalonian Journalists) in Barcelona, Ponsati said she felt certain of her protection from arrest due to her position as a Member of the European Parliament.

While the charge of sedition against Ponsati has been dropped, Judge Pablo Llarena has called on her to testify in-front of the Supreme Court for the alleged crime of disobedience, which carries the penalty of disqualification from political office.

But within hours, Ponsati had shared a photograph of herself being arrested.

"The police arrest me illegally in Barcelona," she wrote alongside the image.

“The persecution of exiles has been pathetic but persistent,” she told reporters.

When asked if she would be turning herself into the police, she said: “We do not recognise Judge Llarena’s jurisdiction, it would be inconsistent to do so.

“If there is an arrest, we will react to it, I cannot make forecasts.

“With the latest legal reforms, the accusation levelled against me has been reduced to the crime of disobedience.

“I have not come to make any pact with the state, but to denounce the violation of our rights.

She added: “I have come to stand up. I ask other European institutions to stop looking the other way.”

In 2021, a Scottish court dismissed the European Arrest Warrant for Ponsati issued by Judge Llarena.

Sheriff Nigel Ross said that Ponsati’s election to the European Parliament in 2019 and subsequent move to Belgium meant the case was a “matter for the Spanish authorities” as “you can’t extradite someone who is not here”.

Although the arrest warrant for Ponsati had not been dropped, Belgian authorities had not arrested her due to the parliamentary immunity afforded to her as an MEP.