Clara Ponsati faces charges of ‘violence against police’

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A St Andrews academic facing extradition from Scotland to Spain faces charges of causing widespread violence against police, it has been reported.

Clara Ponsati, a former minister in the devolved Catalan government, is wanted by the Madrid authorities for her role in the hugely controversial independence referendum in the north-eastern Spanish province in October 2017.

Clara Ponsati surrounded by supporters and lawyer Aamer Amwar after handing herself in at an Edinburgh police station last month. Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

Clara Ponsati surrounded by supporters and lawyer Aamer Amwar after handing herself in at an Edinburgh police station last month. Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

She is fighting charges of “violent rebellion and misappropriation of public funds”, both of which she denies.

The academic was released on bail in Edinburgh last month hours after handing herself in to a police station after being made the subject of a European arrest warrant.

BBC Scotland has since obtained a copy of the warrant for Ponsati, a former head of economics at St Andrews University.

The document includes reports of violent confrontations at polling stations across Catalonia during the referendum.

It also claims the more serious crime of rebellion applies to Ponsati, as those “who revolt violently and publicly” were doing so for the purpose of “declaring the independence of a part of the national territory.”

READ MORE: Clara Ponsati faces ‘threat to her life’ in Spain

The BBC report added the warrant lays out injuries it says were suffered by officers of the Spanish security forces as they tried to prevent October’s referendum from taking place.

Professor Ponsati is due back in court for an extradition hearing on Thursday.

Her lawyer, Aamer Anwar, told the BBC: “There is also no mention of the actions of several thousand Spanish police and 6,000 State Security Forces accused of carrying out brutal attacks on an unarmed civilian population at over 2259 polling booths.

“In a civilised democracy Police Officers are the guardians of law and order, who take an oath to protect the public they serve. Sadly the Spanish state security force’s behaviour on October 1st and since, has been described as a return to the dark days of Francoism and what we one would expect in dictatorship rather than a modern European Democracy.

“To date not one single Spanish police officer has been arrested or prosecuted for their violent actions against a defenceless population and we will submit the warrant is a grotesque distortion of the truth.”