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Exiled minister’s lawyer calls actions of Spanish judiciary ‘unacceptable’

Aamer Anwar accuses Spain of “changing the rules of the game” but trusts Scottish court will reject Ponsatí’s extradition

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15 May 2018 01:56 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Aamer Anwar, the lawyer defending sacked minister Clara Ponsatí from an extradition order in Scotland, told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that Spain is making “desperate attempts” to project a “different image” internationally by trying to convince its European partners that everything in Catalonia has been resolved—yet Anwar stresses that "it hasn't."

"Can they say to their European colleagues, while they have political prisoners in a European prison, that is business as usual and that everything is solved? It's not!" he insisted.

The lawyer claims that the Spanish authorities are making "an abuse of the European Arrest Warrants” in trying to extradite Catalan officials abroad, and he accused the Spanish judiciary of “changing the rules of the game” to ensure the officials are returned to Spain. "The Spanish authorities keep shifting the goalposts. They can’t keep trying once, and then twice and then three and four times,” he said, calling such behavior “unacceptable.”

  • "It almost seems that the ghost of Franco is dictating to the Spanish authorities what to do"

    Aamer Anwar · Lawyer

Spain is asking Belgium, Scotland, Germany and Switzerland to extradite Catalan officials on the grounds that they committed alleged crimes of violent rebellion and misuse of public funds. But Spanish judge Pablo Llarena also suggested he could lower the charges to conspiracy to rebellion or sedition.

Anwar, who was in Barcelona over the weekend, admitted to feeling “shock” when he first took on the case, and he said many people in the UK as feel “horrified” by the case. Yet, the lawyer also said that once he began looking into Spain’s judicial system he realized there is a “lack of independence and a lack of impartiality.” The lawyer also said that it seemed as if "the ghost of Franco is dictating to the Spanish authorities about what to do.”

Describing himself as confident that Ponsatí will win her extradition case and that Spain will ultimately be forced to withdraw the arrest warrant, Anwar also said that a negotiated solution is “the only solution.” "There has to be an unconditional demand for the release of all political prisoners and for getting rid of the charges against those in exile," he said, adding that "Clara Ponsatí does not want to remain in political exile for the rest of her life."

In Tuesday’s hearing in Edinburgh, Ponsatí’s defense argued that the request to extradite her to Spain is “politically motivated.” The defense team headed by Anwar also argued that any attempt to extradite her would be "unfair, oppressive and incompatible with human rights.” If the judge does not reject the extradition request, Ponsatí will again have to appear in court on June 12, with a final decision on her extradition expected at some point in August. The prosecutor has asked for more details on the case.

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  • Clara Ponsatí's lawyer Aamer Anwar (by Laura Pous)

  • Clara Ponsatí's lawyer Aamer Anwar (by Laura Pous)