Ex-Catalan minister Clara Ponsati arrested in Scotland

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An worldwide arrest warrant for exiled former Catalan education minister Clara Ponsati, who recently arrived in Scotland, was reactivated by the Spanish state last weekend.

Ponsati, a former Catalan education minister who is now a professor at Scotland's University of St Andrews, is one of the Catalan leaders being sought by the Spanish courts for organizing a referendum on independence in October a year ago that was deemed illegal under Spanish law.

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The arrest coincided with that of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont.

The Scottish government is concerned about Spain's use of a European Arrest Warrant against Ponsati and plans to raise the issue with the European Commission, justice minister Michael Matheson told the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh. German authorities are due to decide on his extradition.

The academic was to attend an initial extradition hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court later Wednesday.

She refutes the charges and will embark on a legal fight to resist the attempts to have her returned Spain.

If the request is successful, she will face a rebellion charge over October's referendum and declaration of independence.

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Referring to solidarity efforts now taking place at St Andrews University, where Ponsati has pursued her academic career, Anwar said: "She is truly humbled by the unconditional support from students, colleagues and the principal at St Andrews University".

Ms Ponsati, who denies the charges, fled Spain with the autonomous community's ex-leader Carles Puigdemont and three other cabinet members and initially headed for Belgium.

"Clara views these charges as 'political persecution" and submits that her human rights and justice can not be guaranteed in the Spanish Courts.

Mr Anwar said Professor Ponsati had been "truly humbled" by the support she had received in Scotland, where many independence supporters have taken a keen interest in events in Catalonia.

Despite his detention, the separatist-controlled Catalan parliament on Wednesday defended Puigdemont's right to be a candidate again to head the regional government.

Spain's Supreme Court said it will prosecute 13 leading separatist figures for "rebellion", a crime that carries a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison.

"Clara remains defiant and resolute and believes that the Spanish government will never be able to crush the spirit of the Catalan people", he said.

On Monday, a group of protesters congregated outside the Spanish consulate in Edinburgh to demonstrate against the arrest warrant and the actions of the Spanish Government.