A Scottish justice on Thursday abandoned the extradition process of Catalan libertarian and MEP Clara Ponsati, who Spain claimed for a 2017 secession attempt, noting it no longer had jurisdiction because of her move to Belgium.
The decision ends more than three years of proceedings in Scotland regarding one of three MEPs, along with former Catalonia presidents Carles Puigdemont and Tony Comin, on trial by Spain for “treason”.
However, these indictments remain open in Spain, leaving the door open for a new extradition process in Belgium.
During a hearing in Edinburgh, Judge Nigel Rosse reported that 64-year-old Clara Ponsati notified Scottish courts in May to remain in Belgium following her election to the European Parliament.
“The court has no jurisdiction in this matter,” he said. “You cannot extradite someone who is not here”.
Clara Ponsati took to Twitter to thank her supporters and her lawyers from the heart.
“Scottish justice is above all justice. In Europe, this is what we are used to finding. Spanish justice, on the other hand, is above all Spanish. That’s a big difference,” Catalan libertarian Carles Puigdemont replied on Twitter.
Former education minister in the Catalan government, Clara Ponsati, has been charged with “treason” after Spain participated in Catalonia’s unilateral declaration of independence in 2017.
Professor of economics at the Scottish University of St Andrews, she was subject to an extradition process investigated by the Scottish Justice.
But she has been sitting in the European Parliament since February 1, 2020, the day the United Kingdom left the European Union, following the reallocation of 27 of the 73 British seats to member states.
– “Revenge” –
During Thursday’s hearing, “the court had already conjectured that Clara Ponsati was no longer under Scottish jurisdiction and it was decided that she should be released, that the extradition process has finally come to an end”, the hearing. Finally received his lawyer Aamer Anwar. .
Recalling that Clara Ponsati believed that the prosecution against him constituted “revenge on the part of Spain”, she assured that Madrid “has not presented any rational argument justifying the criminalization of its citizens who can peacefully act”. demand another form of government or demand their own right. -determination”.
However, his legal troubles are not over. In March, the European Parliament voted to remove his immunity, like Catalan separatists Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comin.
For the latter two, the extradition request is already in the hands of the Belgian courts. The process is frozen while waiting for European justice to rule on the legality of lifting parliamentary immunity as decided by the European Parliament.
Catalonia’s attempt to secession caused a deep political crisis in Spain, which the new coalition government of socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez promised to attempt to resolve through negotiations.
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