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.

Puigdemont arrested in Germany as Spain issues arrest warrants for former ministers

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who fled Spain for Belgium in October last year, has been arrested in Germany and is due to appear in court to decide whether he should remain in custody. He is wanted in Spain to face charges of rebellion, sedition, and misuse of public funds.

On Friday, Spain also issued European Arrest Warrants for 5 former Catalan ministers. One of whom is Clara Ponsatí, who was Catalan minister of education under Puigdemont and is currently an economist at St Andrews University in Scotland. She also left Spain in October, and the university has said that it is “committed to protect and support her”.

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”.

Catalan leader Anna Gabriel flees to Switzerland

Anna Gabriel, a leader of the Catalan separatist movement in Spain, has fled to Switzerland before she was due to appear at Spain’s Supreme Court as part of an ongoing investigation into sedition, rebellion, and misuse of public funds by former Catalan public officials.

The Supreme Court has yet to make a decision on whether to request her extradition from Switzerland, but in the event that it does Gabriel is likely to argue that the request is “predominantly political”, a defence against extradition under Swiss law. She has said that she is “being prosecuted due to [her] political activities”.

Potentially making matters more difficult for Spain, spokespeople from Gabriel’s political party, the Popular Unity Candidacy, have said that she will request political asylum in Switzerland if the Supreme Court seeks to have her extradited.

Belgian court to rule on extradition of Carlos Puigdemont to Spain

A Belgian Court is due to rule on 14 December on whether former-Catalan President Carlos Puigdemont will be extradited to Spain, where he faces charges of sedition, rebellion, and misuse of public funds. Mr Puigdemont fled to Belgium following the Catalan parliament’s declaration of independence from Spain in October, stating that he would not receive a fair trial.