Spain withdraws European arrest warrant for St Andrews professor Clara Ponsati

21 July, 2018, 23:01 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Former Catalan Minister Professor Clara Ponsati who is facing extradition to Spain attends Edinburgh police station

In his ruling, Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena said he had taken the decision to withdraw the warrants after a German court agreed to extradite Puigdemont, but only for misuse of public funds and not on the more serious charge of rebellion.

The former Catalan president will move from Germany, back to Belgium, shortly.

Professor Clara Ponsati had been facing charges of rebellion and the misappropriation of public funds, with a full extradition hearing set to begin in Edinburgh later this month.

Spain's Supreme Court dropped a European arrest warrant for former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont on Thursday after Germany refused to extradite him to face a charge of rebellion for declaring Catalonia independent past year.

In December, Llarena had already dropped a European arrest warrant for Puigdemont and other Catalans who were then in Belgium.

A German court last week said it would allow Mr Puigdemont's extradition on charges of embezzlement.

However, a national arrest warrant remains in place, meaning that the academic could still be arrested by the Spanish authorities if she returns to the country. It also considers the subsequent Catalan independence declaration illegal.

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If Mr Puigdemont and the others were extradited only on charges of embezzlement, they would only be able to stand trial in Spain on those charges.

"Withdrawing the EAW is proof of the vast weakness of the legal case", Puigdemont posted on Twitter."To revoke pretrial detention would be the signal that the Spanish judiciary is starting to act like the European one".

A Spanish judge has now dropped the warrants for Ms Ponsati and other Catalan leaders who fled overseas.

The remaining two have only been charged with disobedience and misuse of public funds, but not rebellion.

It also made a decision to drop the extradition of the former Catalan regional leader from Germany, where he was charged with misuse of public funds linked to the referendum.

Judge Llarena was scathing about the German court's decision, describing it as "a lack of commitment" in pursuing the fugitives.

Quim Torra, a hardline Catalan nationalist, was sworn in in May to replace Puigdemont as president of the region.

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