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Former Catalan minister sought on fresh arrest warrant

Jane Barlow/PA Wire

By Lucy Christie, PA Scotland

A fresh European Arrest Warrant has been issued for former Catalan politician and University of St Andrews professor Clara Ponsati.

The academic fought extradition to Spain last year as authorities in Madrid sought her on charges of rebellion and misappropriation of public funds over her role in Catalonia's unsanctioned independence referendum in 2017.

She denies the charges.

The arrest warrant was later withdrawn but Police Scotland confirmed on Tuesday Ms Ponsati is the subject of a fresh warrant.

The ex-Catalan education minister is expected to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday.

A police spokeswoman said: "We can confirm we are in possession of a European Arrest Warrant for Clara Ponsati.

"We have now been in contact with her solicitor, who is making arrangements for her to hand herself in to police."

Economics professor Ms Ponsati was arrested in March 2018 and a four-week extradition hearing was expected to be heard at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last July.

But a Spanish Supreme Court judge dropped the extradition request and the warrant was formally discharged.

Speaking then, she said she was "determined to keep fighting for the freedom of all political prisoners, for civil rights in Catalonia and Spain and for the Republic of Catalonia".

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