00:03 GMT25 January 2020
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    LONDON (Sputnik) - A court in Edinburgh released ex-Catalan minister Clara Ponsati on bail hours after she handed herself in to police to have a European arrest warrant served on her, her lawyer said on Thursday.

    The former top education official in Catalonia is wanted in Spain for her role in the 2017 independence vote. She has been living in exile in Scotland, where she teaches at the University of St. Andrews.

    "Clara was … transferred to Edinburgh Sheriff Court for appearance at the Extradition Court before Sheriff Ross. After submissions from our legal team, Clara was released on bail", Aamer Anwar said.

    The next hearing in her extradition case is scheduled for 12 December, the lawyer added. A date for the full hearing is likely to take place next spring.

    Anwar estimated that the 62-year-old faced a jail term of up to 15 years if handed over and convicted of sedition in Spain. The Supreme Court in Madrid gave nine other Catalan leaders sentences ranging from nine to 13 years in prison in mid-October. Following the sentencing, thousands of people around the country took to streets in protest, with many of them getting injuries in clashes with police.

    Catalonia has been long striving to secede from Spain. On 1 October 2017, 90 percent of Catalans who took part in an independence referendum voted in support of secession. The Spanish government declared the vote illegal and arrested a number of pro-independence leaders, with former Catalan President Carles Puigdemon still being wanted by Madrid for his role in the independence bid.

    Tags:
    Clara Ponsati, extradition, court, vote, independence, bail, Spain, Europe, separatism, Catalonia
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