PROFESSOR Clara Ponsati has been released on bail after a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
The former Catalan minister handed herself in to police in the capital today after a European Arrest Warrant was issued on Friday.
She spoke briefly to confirm her name.
A preliminary hearing at the same court was then fixed for April 12.
The brief hearing before Sheriff Nigel Ross lasted less than 10 minutes on Wednesday afternoon.
A number of supporters of the academic were present in the packed courtroom.
The court heard Prof Ponsati does not consent to extradition and the application for bail was not opposed by the Crown.
She was granted bail and asked to surrender her passport to the court.
Spanish authorities accuse Prof Ponsati, an academic at St Andrews University, of charges of “violent rebellion and misappropriation of public funds” over her role in Catalonia’s controversial independence referendum last year.
Her lawyer says she views the charges – which could attract a jail term of up to 30 years – as “political persecution” and believes that her human rights cannot be guaranteed in Spain.
Prof Ponsati was backed by a number of supporters when she handed herself in this morning, as well as in court.
She has been backed too by SNP ministers.
To all those angered by latest developments on #Catalonia, please read @scotgov statement below. Our support for Catalan self determination and strong opposition to Spain’s decision to seek the arrest and imprisonment of independence supporting politicians is well established 1/ pic.twitter.com/GIfgptAzqS
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) March 25, 2018
In a letter to the Spanish ambassador in London, External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop wrote: “It is appropriate to make clear the Scottish Government’s regret that Spain has chosen to pursue this route and to involve Scotland’s legal system in what should be a matter of political debate and resolution.
“I therefore take this opportunity to again, and respectfully, call upon Spain to seek to resolve the current stand-off in Catalonia by peaceful and democratic means.”
St Andrews principal Prof Sally Mapstone said in a statement earlier this week: “Clara is a valued colleague and we are committed to protect and support her.
“As her employer and an institution committed to the defence of free speech, we are deeply concerned by recent developments, their motives and potential consequences.
“In the current circumstances, we believe there are legitimate arguments that Clara is being targeted for standing up for her political beliefs. That is anathema to us, and we will continue to offer her every appropriate support, while respecting due legal process.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe