#DefendClara Stage Two: Urgent Extradition Hearing Appeal

by Clara Ponsati

#DefendClara Stage Two: Urgent Extradition Hearing Appeal

by Clara Ponsati
Clara Ponsati
Clara an esteemed academic, previously a minister in the Catalan Government, is fighting extradition to Spain to stand trial on the 30th July 2018 for having promoted the Catalonia Ref
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Clara Ponsati
Clara an esteemed academic, previously a minister in the Catalan Government, is fighting extradition to Spain to stand trial on the 30th July 2018 for having promoted the Catalonia Ref
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Latest: July 26, 2018

ARREST WARRANT WITHDRAWN

23RD July 2018- PRESS STATEMENT- ISSUED BY AAMER ANWAR ON BEHALF OF CLARA PONSATI ON THE STEPS OF THE COURT FOLLOWING THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT


I have a statement to issue on beh...

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I am honoured to have the support of Catalonian President Quim Torra who is supporting my fight against extradition. I am launching the second stage of my appeal in the run-up to my month-long hearing - double the length we expected - that starts on the 30th July. 


With your support I have been able to defend myself against the Spanish state and we’ve made great progress but we have a long way to go. I can’t do this without your help. Please contribute again if you are able but most importantly share on social media and tell your friends, family and colleagues about what this injustice will mean if it goes ahead. 


Case Background 

I am facing charges of violent rebellion and the misappropriation of public funds and faces a sentence of up to 33 years if extradited. The Prosecutor from Crown Office acting on behalf of Spain considers that the test for the charge of rebellion can be met in Scotland with a charge of conspiracy to alter the constitution by criminal means and treason!

These charges are a politically motivated prosecution and although the warrant accuses me of orchestrating violence at over 2259 polling booths, not a single Spanish police officer has been prosecuted for their violent actions against a defenceless population.


What are the funds raised being used for? 

Within 24 hours nearly £200,000 was raised on the previous legal campaign crowdfunding page. But we face an uphill struggle. UK courts normally assume that a European country like Spain abides by the rule of law and of course Spain has unlimited resources at their disposal.

Our firm has also already instructed Scotland’s most senior Criminal Defence Lawyers, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates - Gordon Jackson QC and top appeal court advocate- Claire Mitchell. This case is unique in UK legal history, but is also the first which will truly expose the Spanish Judiciary as well as the treatment of Catalonia by Spain on the international stage.

There has been intensive daily preparation for three months and we are now in the final stages of our preparation. Defence productions number hundreds of thousands of pages and we require to instruct independent legal experts which include lawyers, judges and journalists to produce reports for court, as well as travel to Scotland, to be accommodated and to testify in court.


How much do we need to raise? 

It is always very difficult to estimate the cost of an international case but the length of the hearing doubled to potentially 4 weeks or beyond. The pressure is now on us to raise a further 220,000 Euros for the final stage and I appreciate you may have already given, but every Euro/Pound counts. If there are any unused funds at the end, those funds would be redistributed to others facing political prosecutions in Catalonia.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support - please do share this page on social media - it will make all the difference.

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Update 3

Clara Ponsati

July 26, 2018

ARREST WARRANT WITHDRAWN

23RD July 2018- PRESS STATEMENT- ISSUED BY AAMER ANWAR ON BEHALF OF CLARA PONSATI ON THE STEPS OF THE COURT FOLLOWING THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT


I have a statement to issue on behalf of Professor Clara Ponsati, today the arrest warrant for Clara was officially withdrawn. 

This is a humiliating defeat for the Spanish state which since October 1st has unleashed a wave of repression attacking the Catalan people, suspending their Government, jailing or trying to jail independence leaders.

The Spanish state systematically used law as a weapon of war to try and eliminate their Catalan opponents, but they have persecuted not just politicians but also teachers, comedians, poets and rappers.

The ‘decapitation and liquidation’ of the Catalan Government was the sole-purpose of the European Arrest warrants as Spain twisted and broke the law, but in court after court across Europe, Spain’s reputation has been damaged, the failures are spectacular and ultimately the warrants were withdrawn through the fear of failure.

On the first day that Clara appeared in court, we stated that we would put the Spanish judiciary ‘on trial’ within our courts, exposing them to the full glare of judicial scrutiny in our independent and robust courts. 

It was our intention to announce today that we would cite to court ex-ministers- Prime Minister Rajoy, Deputy PM Sorayas Saez de Santamaria and the Finance Minister Montoro as well as international human rights observers.

This case was about Spain’s abuse of the judicial system to undermine the very principles they stand for: the rule of law, the sanctity of life, and the right to free speech.

Clara an esteemed University Professor if extradited faced up to 33 years for peacefully promoting a referendum. The European Arrest Warrant was never meant to be used as a tool of political repression and we would ask for both the Scottish and UK Government to raise such abuse with their European Union.

The arrest warrant accused Clara of orchestrating violence at over 2000 polling booths, yet Spain was unable to specify a single act of violence or incitement attributable to Clara. There was of course no mention of the brutal violence deployed by several thousand Spanish Police and 6000 state security forces on a people simply trying to vote.

We were ready to argue that in the 21st Century a peaceful democratic expression of self-determination through the voting process is not, and could never be, a criminal offence. The calling for and holding of a referendum, regardless of its legal status cannot be criminalized.

In Scotland the law of treason has not been used for centuries and it is a common occurrence for people to call for a republic with no threat of prosecution.

There has been no prosecution under any part of the Treason Act since 1883 in this country and sedition was abolished in 2011, these are archaic and redundant offences which limit freedom of speech.

The warrants are a monstrous distortion of the truth, yet Spain’s legal strategy has backfired spectacularly from Belgium, Switzerland, to Germany and now Scotland.

Since October the 1st the Spanish State has acted with total impunity allowing its judiciary to wage legal warfare on a democratically elected Catalan Government, allowing its security forces to engage in indiscriminate violence whilst suppressing political dissent, meanwhile the European Union has been complicit through its silence.

Since the collapse of its case against Carles Puigdemont, the Spanish Supreme Court is accused of being driven by vengeance, total contempt and lack of respect for international law and human rights.

The withdrawal of the warrants is a tremendous victory, but there can be no mood for celebration whilst nine Catalans are held as political hostages and Clara remains a political exile unable to return home for at least 20 years.

If PM Sanchez is not dictated to by the ghost of Franco and is genuinely interested in a political solution, then he must move to release all political prisoners and allow the return of all exiles without condition. 

In the meantime we are advised to remain on standby as Judge Llarena could reissue a European Arrest Warrant as he has done in the past.

In conclusión Clara would like me to thank her legal team, the people of Scotland, the UK, her fellow Catalans and Europeans as well as the SNP, the Green Party, the STUC, Scottish Government, all the thousands who donated  to Crowd Justice and the University of St. Andrews who have given her such love and support. We could not have defeated the Spanish authorities without your support but we will continue the fight."

Update 2

Clara Ponsati

July 20, 2018

CLARA WILL ATTEND EDINBURGH COURT ON MONDAY 23RD JULY AT 9.30AM

SPANISH SUPREME COURT WITHDRAWS EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANTS

UPDATE ON LEGAL SITUATION ON BEHALF OF PROFESSOR CLARA PONSATI 


The Spanish Supreme Court on Thursday 19th July withdrew the European Arrest Warrants in respect of Professor Clara Ponsatí, as well as similar warrants issued in respect of other Catalan ministers who are currently in Europe.

During a month long of court hearings commencing on the 30th July, we had intended to argue that the European Arrest Warrant was invalid; that the Spanish Government could not comply with the requirements set down in the Extradition Act 2003; that the prosecution was essentially political in nature; and that to return Professor Ponsatí to Spain would be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Whilst this is a tremendous victory for our campaign to defend Clara from extradition, several prominent figures in the Catalan Independence movement remain in pre-trial detention facing similar charges to those faced by Professor Ponsatí.

The national warrant still remains in place for Clara thus making her a political exile and any return to Spain would result in her arrest and detention on the same charges.

We must await the next step from the Spanish Judicary. Following the decision of the German courts not to agree to extradition of Carles Puigedemont for Rebellion, Judge Llarena along with the Supreme Court decided it was unwilling to continue with demands for extradition.

They would of course have been aware from the campaign we have fought and that Clara's case was due to commence on the 30th July. They would also have been aware it was our intention to cite to court several former ministers from Rajoy's government.

We were confident of the strength of our legal arguments and that we would expose Spain once again to the full glare of international and judicial scrutiny.

We are writing to thank you for your amazing support, without you it would have been impossible to mount the defence of Clara that we have with a legal team comprising Scotland's leading lawyers including the Dean of the Faculty Gordon Jackson QC, Scotland's most senior Criminal Advocate,.

Apart for paying for legal costs over a period of four months, it also allowed us raise the profile of the case on international stage, as part of a strategy agreed with the international team whom we were working in partnership with.

At this stage we will no longer be requesting further donations, however we have been advised to remain on standby and await the outcome of clarification from the Spanish authorities as they could still reissue a new European Arrest Warrant as they have attempted once before.

We will require to attend Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday 23rd July in the hope that at this stage the warrant is discharged.

Having consulted with our team in Scotland as well as in the rest of Europe we are that this may not yet be the end of the case and that Judge Llarena may come back with a new arrest warrant in several months time. From previous experience we are conscious that Judge Llarena is more than willing to activate activate a new European Arrest Warrant. Whilst the German decision is not binding on Scotland any resurrection of an arrest warrant would be fought and our preparation is of course almost complete.

However in the event that there are no further proceedings, we would then as previously stated redistribute remaining funds to other existing legal funds of Clara's choice.

Clara Ponsati will attend Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Chambers Street on Monday 23rd July at 9.30am for a hearing at 10am and a further update will be issued following these proceedings.

Kind Regards and thank you once again

Aamer Anwar- Solicitor for Clara Ponsati


For your information the following statement was issued by Aamer Anwar on behalf of Clara on Thursday following the decision to withdraw arrest warrants as follows:

“From the very beginning Clara Ponsati utterly refuted the charges she faced and Spain was accused of abusing the European Arrest Warrant for politically motivated prosecutions.

So today’s withdrawal of all the European Arrest Warrants by the Spanish Supreme Court is a tremendous victory for the Catalan politicians and people.

The warrant failed to ever specify a single act of violence or incitement attributable to Clara or her fellow ministers. Unsurprisingly there is no mention of the actions of several thousand Spanish police and 6000 State Security Forces accused of carrying out brutal unprovoked attacks on a civilian population at over 2000 polling stations.

In a civilised democracy Police Officers are the guardians of law and order, who protect the public they serve, yet the actions of the Spanish police on October 1st has been compared to the dark days of Francoism. We ask the Spanish judiciary and Judge Llarena why no warrants have been issued for a single Spanish police officer for their violent actions against a defenceless population.

To put the charge that Clara faced in context, just try to imagine if the First Minister of Scotland were to call a referendum and Theresa May sent in 15,000 police officers to attack voters and then imprisoned half the Scottish Government whilst issuing warrants for Nicola Sturgeon and others who fled to Europe, threatening them with over 30 years in prison for treason if convicted. Of course that scenario is an impossible nightmare but that is the situation Catalonia faces today.

Contrary to the arguments of the arrest warrant, the gathering of citizens constitutes an exercise of their right to freedom of association and cannot be compared with an act of violence. A true democracy guarantees the absolute freedom of expression for MPs and ministers in exercising their powers. They must be able to speak freely, independently and without fear of any form of prosecution or punishment.

We welcome the withdrawal of the European Arrest Warrants albeit that we still await official confirmation from Spain. But whilst this is a tremendous victory we also remind people that Political Prisoners still remain in custody in Spain. Clara and others have not had their national warrants withdrawn, thus making Clara a political exile which means if she were to return home she would be arrested. We also await to see the next step of the Spanish authorities as they could still reissue revised European Arrest warrants although this would clearly be a further example of an abuse of the treaty.

If President Sanchez is truly different from the regime of Rajoy then the only solution is a political solution which must mean a guaranteed return of the political exiles and release of all political prisoners with no conditions attached. It is the sovereign right of the Catalan people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs and it can never be illegal under international law for a people to express their right to self-determination. 

Clara would like me to thank the people of Scotland, the UK, her fellow Catalans and Europeans as well as the SNP, the Green Party, Members of the Labour Party, the STUC, Scottish Government and the staff and Students of St. Andrews University for their support. Their solidarity will never be forgotten.”

Update 1

Clara Ponsati

July 11, 2018

Hem llançat una última campanya urgent de crowdfunding...

Estimat amic, estimada amiga,

Recaptació de fons per a l’última fase del judici - Extradició de la Professora Clara Ponsatí 

T’escric amb urgència com a representant de l'ex-consellera del Govern de Catalunya i professora Clara Ponsatí. El judici per a decidir la seva extradició començarà el dia 30 de juliol de 2018 a la Junta del Sheriff d'Edimburg i s'allargarà fins el dia 31 d'agost.

A QUINS CÀRRECS S’ENFRONTA, LA CLARA?

La Clara Ponsatí s’enfronta a càrrecs de rebel·lió amb violència i malversació de fons públics, i a una sentència, doncs, de fins a 33 anys de presó. El fiscal de la Crown Office, en representació de la justícia espanyola, considera que el càrrec de rebel·lió pot existir a Escòcia, juntament amb càrrecs de conspiració, per haver intentat alterar la constitució amb mitjans criminals que constituirien un delicte de traïció!


La Clara entén que aquestes acusacions són una “persecució política”. L’ordre d’arrest acusa la Clara d’haver orquestrat i promogut la violència en més de 2259 col·legis electorals, tot i que en cap moment especifica ni un sol acte de violència que se li pugui atribuir. Fins a dia d'avui, cap dels policies enviats des de Madrid han estat acusats d’accions violentes o d'haver emprat un excés de força contra la població indefensa.


PER QUÈ SERVIRAN, ELS FONS RECAPTATS?

Gràcies a la campanya de crowdfunding a la xarxa, en tan sols 24 hores es van recaptar 200.000 lliures esterlines. Però ara ens enfrontem a una dificultat més gran; les Corts del Regne Unit normalment assumeixen que un Estat europeu com Espanya compleix l’estat de dret, i cal tenir present que les autoritats espanyoles disposen de recursos il·limitats a la seva disposició.

El nostre despatx compta amb els advocats de defensa criminal més importants, entre ells el Degà de la Facultat d’Advocats, Gordon Jackson QC, i l'advocada Claire Mitchell. No obstant això, aquest cas és únic en la història legal del Regne Unit, i també es el primer que posarà en evidència, en tot el seu abast i en l’esfera internacional, el sistema judicial espanyol i el tractament que han rebut els catalans per part del govern d'Espanya.

Han estat tres mesos de feina i preparació intensa i, ara que arribem al final, calen un esforç i una dedicació encara més grans, que segons les nostres estimacions es concreten en centenars de milers de pàgines d’informes i recerca. A més, ens ha calgut l'assessorament d'experts legals independents, entre ells advocats, jutges i periodistes, per tal de produir informes per al tribunal, i a tot això cal sumar-hi els testimonis que hauran de venir fins a Escòcia per declarar durant el judici.


QUANT NECESSITEM RECAPTAR?

És molt difícil estimar el cost d’un cas internacional. De moment, però, la durada del judici ja s’ha allargat el doble del previst, fins a 4 setmanes o potser més. És per això que patim la pressió d'haver de recaptar més de 220.000 euros en aquesta segona i última etapa. En cas que sobressin diners, els redistribuiríem entre els altres casos de persecució política que hi ha a Catalunya.


QUÈ POTS FER PER PROPORCIONAR AJUDA PRÀCTICA?

Si us plau, fes una contribució econòmica per mitjà d'una transferència bancària o bé amb targeta de crèdit, i comparteix l’enllaç a totes les xarxes socials possibles:

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/defendclara2/

Si et cal més informació al respecte, posa't en contacte amb la nostra oficina a aquest número: 0044 141 429 7090.

La Clara està molt agraïda per tot el suport rebut de tanta gent de Catalunya, Escòcia i la resta d’Europa. El dia 11 de juliol, el President de Catalunya, Quim Torra, es reunirà amb la Clara Ponsatí i tots dos oferiran una roda de premsa conjunta. Catalunya no demana gaire; només que es respectin els drets fonamentals i el dret a l'autodeterminació, recollit en les lleis internacionals.

Confiem que, malgrat els pocs dies que queden abans del judici, ens hi podràs ajudar. Esperem notícies teves.


Una salutació ben cordial,


Aamer Anwar       

Advocat de la Professora Clara Ponsatí

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