Video: Who is Clara Ponsati?

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The St Andrews professor has begun her legal fight against extradition for her role in the Catalan independence referendum.

Professor Clara Ponsati has begun her legal battle against extradition to Spain to face legal charges of rebellion and the misuse of public funds.

Clara Ponsati surrounded by supporters and lawyer Aamer Amwar. Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

Clara Ponsati surrounded by supporters and lawyer Aamer Amwar. Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

A St Andrews lecturer in the school of economics and finance, she only recently returned to her teaching post after four months in self-imposed exile in Belgium along with former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.

In July 2017, she took on the role of ‘Ministry of Education of the Generalitat’ (Minister for Education).

Both St Andrews University and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon have stood by Ms Ponsati while respecting the legal process.

Two weeks after Ms Ponsati moved back to Scotland, the Spanish Supreme Court issued her arrest warrant and alerted authorities in Scotland.

Read more: Arrested ex-Catalan minister Ponsati thanks Nicola Sturgeon

She stood by lawyer Aamer Amwar’s side as he read a statement out on her behalf, calling out the Spanish government for political persecution.

Charges brought against her and her fellow cabinet carry a sentence of 30 years in prison. She put the extradition attempt down to “political persecution”, and fears her human rights can not be guaranteed should she return to Spain.

Rejecting extradition requests from other European nations is rare, but her case stands a chance if her defence can prove a Spanish motive of ‘political persuction’.

A crowdraising fund for Ms Ponsati’s defence has already topped £215,000.