Ex-Catalan minister turns herself in in Scotland

Clara Ponsatí the former Catalan education minister with her leader and fellow fugitive Carles Puigdemont

The former education minister, who is now a professor at the University of Saint Andrews, has been living in Scotland since Spain issued an arrest warrant for her last November.

"She submits that Spain has not followed due process, can not guarantee the independence of the judiciary, and has repeatedly abused the human rights of the Catalan people".

According to the Spanish Prosecutor's Office, Ponsati was responsible for allowing polling places to stay open in schools during the referendum. A crowdfunding page set up to pay her legal costs has already raised 165,000 pounds ($232,600).

He says "Clara remains defiant and resolute and believes that the Spanish government will never be able to crush the spirit of the Catalan people".

Her lawyer Aamer Anwar said he was preparing her for a court appearance today where she intends to fight extradition.

"We strongly oppose the Spanish government's decision to seek the arrest and imprisonment of independence supporting politicians", Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose nationalist party runs the government in Edinburgh, said in a statement.

The referendum took place under tense conditions on October 1, despite calls to Catalan leaders from the central Madrid government to call it off.

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The sovereignty debate in Catalonia is one of many now raging in countries across the globe. "The fact that our justice system is legally obliged to follow due process in the determination of extradition requests does not change those views".

Wolfgang Schomburg, a German attorney representing Puigdemont, urged the Berlin German government to immediately make clear it would not under any circumstances approve his extradition.

Worldwide arrest warrants are also active against three other politicians who fled overseas a year ago, and five others are in jail in Spain pending trial.

He said the charges of violence and corruption mentioned in the warrant were unsupported.

"The only people that should be held responsible for the brutal violence was the Spanish police and the 6000 state security forces who attacked the Catalan people on behalf of the Spanish Government".

Spain's Constitutional Court has said that Puigdemont or any other candidate could only become regional leader if he was physically present in parliament and had a judge's permission to attend. In response, Madrid imposed direct rule over the autonomous region, dissolved the Catalan parliament and called a snap election.

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