POSTAL votes from overseas have now been counted, changing the election results from Sunday – the right-wing PP has gained another seat, giving it 89, and the Basque National Party (PNV) has lost one, dropping to six....
Scotland to fight extradition of Catalunya minister Clara Ponsatí
By thinkSPAIN Team Wed, Nov 6, 2019
SCOTTISH authorities have 'refused' to extradite Dr Clara Ponsatí over her role in the Catalunya independence procedures after receiving a translated European Arrest Warrant (EAW) today, according to Spain's interior ministry, although The National Scot reports that it has not given an outright 'no', merely sought 'clarity'.
Following the Supreme Court's verdict over the disputed referendum of October 1, 2017, which has led to prison sentences of between nine and 13 years for the regional politicians behind the move – and mass protests in the streets of Catalunya's main cities – a EAW against its exiled cabinet has been resuscitated after twice having been cancelled.
Belgian authorities have been ordered to extradite the regional leader at the time, Carles Puigdemont, who has been living in Waterloo for the past two years, and an order has been received to do likewise with Dr Ponsatí, who initially fled to Belgium with Puigdemont and three other regional ministers but then moved on to Edinburgh.
Before becoming regional politician – minister for education – in Catalunya, a role she held for barely a year, Clara had been head of studies and professor of economics at the prestigious St Andrews' University, whose alumni include Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.
The Scottish public and its Parliament, led by the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon – who is seeking a second referendum on Scotland's independence to avoid the region's being forced out of the European Union when nearly 70% of its voters opted for Remain – offered their overwhelming support for Dr Ponsatí at the time, and she was told by the court in Edinburgh that she was 'free to go' after the second EAW was cancelled a year ago.
Described by The National Scot as 'like someone's favourite aunt', the 64-year-old professor looks set to gain the same level of support this time around – according to a communication by Spain's interior ministry, the EAW 'has been reviewed by a specialist lawyer' in the UK 'in the name of the National Crime Agency [NCA]' who has 'determined that it is disproportionate in terms of British legislation' and that it 'has not been certified by the National SIRENE Service [the UK's branch of the European security agency]' meaning that 'for the present, no other steps will be taken in this matter'.
But the headline in today's National Scot says: “Extradition hearing of catalán exile Clara Ponsatí delayed amid clarity concerns.”
It reports that solicitor Aamer Anwar 'wrote a statement on behalf of Ponsatí explaining there were 'glaring contradictions' contained in a 'rambling warrant which went on for 59 pages'.
Anwar (in the above picture from Twitter, with Clara Ponsatí) reportedly added: “Recently, failures by Spain to follow EAW procedures led to delays on the warrant being accepted by Belgium for the extradition of former president [of Catalunya], Carles Puigdemont.
“Early this morning the translated warrant for Clara arrived and clarity is now being sought by the UK authorities on the warrant from Spain.
“Over the last 24 hours, we have been translating the Spanish warrant in our possession issued by a senior judge, Pablo Llarena.
“There appear to be glaring contradictions contained in a rambling warrant stretching to some 59 pages, which jumps from 'Rebellion' to 'Sedition', [and] whilst Clara Ponsatí is accused of 'Sedition', she [is] only briefly mentioned on two pages, with no clarity as to her rôle.”
Anwar went one step further on Twitter, calling the 'attempts at extradition' by judge Llarena 'shambolic' and 'arrogant', and saying they 'should be a source of deep embarrassment' to him.
“This is now the third attempt to extradite Clara,” he said.
“We are instructed to robustly defend Clara in what she claims to be a 'judicially-motivated act of vengeance against Catalunya's politicians'.”
The lawyer says Spanish national politicians may even be called to Scotland to act as witnesses.
At present, Dr Ponsatí is expected to hand herself in to Scottish authorities on November 14, although this may change.
Catalunya's independence referendum is considered to be in breach of Spain's written Constitution – in force since December 1978 – which states that any 'threat against the unity of Spain' is 'unlawful'.
Adhering to this to the letter, Spain's previous right-wing government, led by the PP, refused to enter into any discussions with Catalunya's leaders other than to threaten them with court action and possibly prison if they proceeded.
They did so, and those politicians who did not flee the country in time were taken into custody, where they have remained ever since.
Although 99% of those who voted in the disputed referendum opted for independence, this was largely because those who did not want to break away from Spain – which would automatically force the 'new country' out of the EU – did not vote as they considered the referendum illegal.
This meant only 42% of the electorate cast their ballot, so it is open to conjecture whether the secession line gained a 'majority' or not.
Most of Spain's politicians of all colours are staunchly against allowing any kind of vote on independence, binding or not, although the independent left-wing parties, including Podemos, are in favour of dropping all legal proceedings, opening dialogue and then, finally, agreeing to a vote, since they consider that if the 'us-and-them' approach is scrapped and court action taken out of the equation, once Catalunya's reasons for wanting independence are heard and solutions proposed, the public would largely vote to remain in any case.
Podemos and other, smaller left-wing parties believe 'criminalising' the secession bid is winning it support it would not otherwise have gained.
More Politics & People content
FULL details of the agreement between the PSOE and Unidas Podemos will not be released for a few days or possibly weeks as those present fine-tune it, but it will be based upon 10 key points Unidas Podemos and the PSOE...
DESPITE having spent months trying, and failing, after the April 28 elections, the PSOE's Pedro Sánchez and Unidas Podemos' Pablo Iglesias have reached a deal – less than 48 hours after Sunday's repeat...
OVER 300 Spaniards who did not intend to vote yesterday (Sunday) 'donated' their ballot to another 300 foreign residents, many of whom are children born in Spain to expat parents. The campaign was set up by...