Former Catalan Minister Clara Ponsati raises £225k for legal fees

Supporters of Catalan academic and former politician Clara Ponsati have raised nearly a quarter of a million pounds to help her fight extradition to Spain.

Ms Ponsati fled Spain after last year’s disputed independence referendum in Catalonia, and is facing charges of rebellion by the Spanish authorities on a European Arrest Warrant.

The chair of Economics at the Unversity of St Andrews, Ms Ponsati was a former Education Minster under the leadership of former President Carles Puigdemont.

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Lesley Riddoch: Unwarranted silence over Clara Ponsati
Ms Ponsati with her lawyer Aamer Anwar. Picture: AFP/Getty

The duo fled to Belgium after warrants were issued for their arrest for holding the referendum on independence in the Spanish state, whose capital is the major city of Barcelona.

Mr Puigdemont has since been arrested on rebellion charges in Germany.

£226,000 has since been raised for the economist to fight her extradition to Spain, while representations have been made to the Governments in both Holyrood and Westmisnter.

Ms Ponsati with her lawyer Aamer Anwar. Picture: AFP/Getty

Ms Ponsati’s lawyer Aamer Anwar told The Observer: “They absolutely did not want this to land in Scotland.

“I suspect they were unaware of the difference in legal systems and political approach that would be adopted in Scotland as opposed to England, and believed they could rely upon the unconditional support of the British government.

“The fierce response to her extradition in Scotland is not what they were expecting but they have not even experienced what will happen when we go to court.”