Nicola Sturgeon: Scots government have ‘no power’ to stop Catalan arrest

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Nicola Sturgeon has said she cannot intervene to stop the arrest of a Catalan leader in Scotland who is now subject of a European Arrest warrant.

Police Scotland are seeking to arrest Clara Ponsati, who was the education minister in the Catalan government, after she returned to work at St Andrews University.

It follows a European Arrest warrant being issued against her last week. The exiled Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has already been arrested in Germany as the fallout continues from Catalonia’s declaration of independence from Spain last year.

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The SNP Government has voiced its sympathy with its “sister” Catalan independence movement.

Ms Sturgeon said: “It is well established that the Scottish Government supports the right of the people of Catalonia to determine their own future and that we strongly oppose the Spanish Government’s decision to seek the arrest and imprisonment of independence supporting politicians.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has expressed support for the Catalan independence movement . Pictures: John Devlin/PA/WikiCommons

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has expressed support for the Catalan independence movement . Pictures: John Devlin/PA/WikiCommons

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Nicola Sturgeon has said she cannot intervene to stop the arrest of a Catalan leader in Scotland who is now subject of a European Arrest warrant.

“The fact that our justice system is legally obliged to follow due process in the determination of extradition requests does not change those views.”

Under the Extradition Act 2003, Scottish Ministers have no role in the determination of European Arrest Warrants.

Catalonia's former Councillor of Education of the Generalitat Clara Ponsati is set to hand herself in to Police Scotland  (Photo: Getty Images)

Catalonia's former Councillor of Education of the Generalitat Clara Ponsati is set to hand herself in to Police Scotland (Photo: Getty Images)

The First Minister added: “Our police, prosecution service and courts are independent and are legally obliged under this UK legislation to fulfil their responsibilities. Scottish Ministers have no powers to intervene in this process.

“However, the legal process includes the right of any individual subject to proceedings under the 2003 Act to oppose their extradition in the courts and it is vital that the integrity of this process is protected. For that reason the Scottish Government will not comment further at this stage.”

Police Scotland have now confirmed they are in possession of the warrant.

A police statement said: “We have made a number of enquiries to try to trace her and have now been contacted by her solicitor, who is making arrangements for Ms Ponsati to hand herself into police.”

Mr Puigdemont, who is wanted in Spain for sedition and rebellion, was held crossing from Denmark on the way to Belgium. He had been living in self-imposed exile in Belgium since Catalonia’s parliament unilaterally declared independence from Spain in October.