A FORMER Catalan minister fighting extradition to Spain amid accusations of treason has compared her situation to the brutal, 18th century world of hit TV show Outlander.
Professor Clara Ponsati, an academic at the University of St Andrews, is wanted in Spain on charges of rebellion in connection with last year’s controversial independence referendum.
But her legal team insist she “utterly refutes” the allegations, which could see her dying in prison. They vowed to appeal the case all the way to Europe if necessary, in a process that could take years.
READ MORE: Spain ‘monitors’ Sturgeon’s meeting with Catalan leader amid diplomatic tension
Scottish prosecutors will attempt to use the centuries-old law of treason to send her back to Spain, as the charges she faces must constitute crimes in Scotland if she is to be extradited.
Ms Ponsati, who served as education minister in the now-deposed Catalan government, described the whole situation as “surreal”.
She said: “It’s a little bit – I’ve been watching this time-Travel series on Netflix, that happens in Scotland.
“If these guys were to succeed, we would be seeing one more episode of Outlander.”
But she added: “I keep calm. I’m a toughie. I don’t want to cry, I just want to fight.”
Outlander tells the story of a World War Two nurse transported back in time to the Scotland of 1743, where she becomes embroiled in the Jacobite risings.
Ms Ponsati made the comments as she met Catalan President Quim Torra in Edinburgh, who has called for a Scottish-style referendum to solve the crisis between Spain and Catalonia.
Mr Torra was later due to meet First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Bute House, where he said he could “learn a lot about how the Scottish Government is managing this idea of a second referendum”, as well as discussing how to move forward.
READ MORE: Spain is ‘guilty of abuse of process’ in Ponsati case
Spain has accused Ms Ponsati of crimes including rebellion and the misuse of public funds following the disputed referendum of October 1 last year. This has been equated to treason and conspiracy to alter the constitution by criminal means under Scots law.
No one has been prosecuted for treason – which covers the most extreme crimes against the state – for over a century in Scotland.
Mr Torra said the Scottish referendum was “the best example that conflict should be always resolved by voting and never by violence and repression”.
He said: “Just because Clara with others let the Catalans vote, they are in exile and they are in prison in Spain. Can you imagine Scottish politicians in prison just for letting the Scottish people vote?
“Can you imagine sending the British police to polling stations in the referendum in Scotland – hitting the people, just because they were voting?”
He said the Catalan independence movement had drawn the focus of Europe to “Francoism on the streets, fascist outbursts and an intolerable democratic regression at any level”.
It is understood Spanish envoys were told to follow and “monitor” Mr Quim during his visit to Scotland to rebut any criticism of Spain made in public meetings.
Ms Ponsati’s lawyer Aamer Anwar also labelled the charge of treason “surreal”.
READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon to hold talks with Catalan president Quim Torra
He said: “To put the charge of treason in context, imagine tomorrow 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.”
Ms Ponsati is due in court in Edinburgh at the end of this month.
Source : HeraldScotland