NICOLA Sturgeon has said she is powerless to intervene in the case of a former Catalan minister who faces an extradition battle as she prepares to hand herself in to Police Scotland.

Professor Clara Ponsati was education minister in the Catalan government in October when it declared independence from Spain.

She fled to Brussels with former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and three colleagues as Madrid dissolved the regional government and issued arrest warrants.

READ MORE: Clashes at protest against arrest of ex-Catalan leader in Germany

Earlier this month she returned to St Andrews University, where she had been director of the school of economics before taking up the role of Catalan education minister last summer.

She has previously spoken of her fear she would be “sent straight to jail” if she was returned to Spain to face a charge of rebellion, which carries a 30-year sentence.

Police Scotland yesterday confirmed that arrangements are being made with Ms Ponsati’s lawyer for her to hand herself in. Last night her lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said she has “instructed me to robustly defend all attempts by the Spanish authorities to extradite her”.

It follows the decision on Friday by a Spanish judge to reactivate arrest warrants for Ms Ponsati, Mr Puigdemont and three other former Catalan ministers. Mr Puigdemont was detained in Germany yesterday and, as the news emerged, thousands marched in protest in Barcelona.

READ MORE: Clashes at protest against arrest of ex-Catalan leader in Germany

Ms Sturgeon said: “We strongly oppose the Spanish government’s decision to seek the arrest and imprisonment of independence supporting politicians.”

She added: “The fact that our justice system is legally obliged to follow due process in the determination of extradition requests does not change those views.”