Lawyers for former Catalan education minister and St Andrews academic Professor Carla Ponsati have stated their intention to challenge the decision of the European Parliament to remove Professor Ponsati’s immunity as an MEP.
Appearing before Edinburgh’s Sheriff Court on 4 May 2021, Professor Ponsati’s legal team argued that no date should be fixed for her extradition hearing until the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) determines the lawfulness of the decision to remove immunity. The court was informed that a referral had been made to the CJEU and an action of annulment would be lodged against the immunity decision by 19 May 2021.
Professor Ponsati is sought by Spanish authorities to face charges of rebellion in connection with the Catalan Independence referendum of 2017. She faces a maximum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment if convicted.
Despite the looming challenge to the European Parliament decision, Sheriff Ross held there was no legal impediment to the ongoing Scottish extradition proceedings. He did, however, question the point of continuing the proceedings as Professor Ponsati, who appeared via video link, is now permanently residing in Belgium and is no longer in the jurisdiction of the Scottish courts.
A further procedural hearing date was set for August.