Professor Clara Ponsatí could be extradited to Spain using Treason Felony Act 1848

Scottish prosecutors have confirmed that could use the Treason Felony Act 1848 to argue that Professor Ponsatí should be extradited to Spain to face charges of rebellion in connection with the Catalan Independence referendum of 2017. Under the principle of dual-criminality, Professor Ponsatí cannot be extradited to Spain, unless Scottish prosecutors can prove that the offences she is accused of would constitute crimes in Scotland or are included with the Framework List of offences for the European Arrest Warrant. Under the 1848 Act, the offence of “levying war in the realm” could mean that there is an equivalent crime in Scotland to the rebellion charges she faces in Spain.

The next procedural hearing in the case is scheduled for the 24th July and the full hearing is due to begin on the 30th July.

 

UK accused of failing in its international obligations by refusing to extradite Harris Binotti to Myanmar

The UK has been accused of failing in its international obligations after refusing to extradite Mr Harris Binotti to Myanmar where he is accused of murdering his work colleague in an apartment in Yangon. The UK Home Office has explained that it has refused to extradite Mr Binotti because the UK does not have an extradition treaty with Myanmar and Mr Binotti would face a real risk of having his human rights breached if the extradition were to take place.

In response to the Home Office decision, Zar Li Aye, an adviser for the International Commission of Jurists, said that Burmese law included an obligation on judicial authorities to extradite or prosecute and therefore the obligation fell to British authorities to prosecute Mr Binotti in the UK. Consequently, according to Mr Aye, by not prosecuting Mr Binotti the UK is allowing a jurisdictional gap.
Mr Binotti, originally from Dumfries in Scotland, remains subject to an INTERPOL Red Notice which allows law enforcement authorities on the database to arrest him.

Former Putin adviser to stay in Scotland after his extradition is blocked by Edinburgh Sheriff Court

Last week, a former adviser to President Putin, Dr Alexander Alexandrovich Shapovalov, had his extradition to Russia blocked by Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Dr Shapovalov’s extradition was requested by Russia because he has been convicted of fraud and sentenced, on appeal, to 9 years and 10 months imprisonment. Dr Shapovalov’s lawyers argued that the fraud charges were ‘trumped up’ and that he faced an unfair prosecution, a risk of torture if he was imprisoned in Russia and other breaches of his human rights. Sheriff Ross accepted that Dr Shapovalov did not receive a fair trial and criticised the Russian Federation’s justice system explaining that if Dr Shapovalov were extradited to Russia he would face unfair prosecution, possible torture and inhuman conditions in the Russian prison system. Sheriff Ross dismissed the evidence from Russia as ‘poor quality, inadequate and misdirected.’

Catalan separatist fighting Spanish extradition case

Catalan Separatist and Economics lecturer at the University of St Andrews, Clara Ponsati, is scheduled to face an extradition court hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today before she faces her full extradition hearing this summer.

Killer sentenced to 10 years in US federal prison after UK’s longest extradition case

Phillip Harkins was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in the US today. Harkins was originally arrested for murder in 1999 but fled to Scotland from the US after he was remanded on bail. He was then re-arrested in Scotland in 2003 after he was charged with death by dangerous driving. His 14-year extradition case, believed to be the longest in UK history, went several times to the European Court of Human Rights. On each occasion the court ruled that there was no risk that Harkins would face the death penalty due to diplomatic assurances provided by the US; and that the possibility that he would face life imprisonment without parole did not amount to a breach of Article 3 ECHR which prohibits inhuman and degrading treatment. Harkins was finally extradited to the US in 2017. Today, the US court sentenced him to 25 years for the 2 killings and 15 years for a subsequent attempted armed robbery charge. These sentences will be served concurrently and have been reduced to take into account the years he spent in prison in the UK. Overall, this means he will be spending a further 10 years in a federal prison in the US.

Puigdemont & Ponsati face court hearings in battle against extradition to Spain

A German court has ruled that the requirements to detain exiled Catalan President Carles Puigdemont are met by the European Arrest Warrant for him issued by Spain. The Court has also denied him bail, after finding that he had a “strong incentive” to attempt travel to Belgium where he may have a better chance of fighting extradition. Mr Puigdemont was arrested in Germany on Friday, while attempting to travel between Finland and Belgium, and a final decision on his extradition must now be made within 90 days (see previous blog).

At the same time, former Catalan education secretary Carla Ponsati, who like Puigdemont left Spain in October last year, has agreed to turn herself in to police in Scotland where she had returned to a teaching post at St Andrews University. As with Mr Puigdemont, she is wanted by Spain on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds.

Former Catalan education minister goes into exile in Scotland

The former education minister of Catalonia Clara Ponsati, appointed by former-President Carles Puigdemont in July 2017, has resigned and gone into exile in Scotland. She fled Spain for Belgium after Catalonia declared independence last October, and is wanted by Spain on charges of sedition and rebellion. A number of pro-independence politicians have already been jailed by Spain on charges connected to Catalonia’s declaration of independence.

Spain has struggled to secure the extradition of several government ministers who fled last year, and withdrew a European Arrest Warrant for them after Belgium did not recognise the charges against them.  It has also been rebuffed by Switzerland who found Ponsati was wanted “for political crimes”.