MY legal team has read Clara’s European Arrest Warrant (EAW) and found it impossible to see the precise conduct which could be punished under Scots law.

Clara faces allegations of violent rebellion and misappropriation of public funds and if convicted this esteemed professor with no criminal record, potentially faces up to 35 years in prison.

Spain accuses Clara of a great number of criminal acts but according to the Catalans these are political acts protected by the right to freedom of thought, the right to freedom of expression and freedom of association.

Such human rights form the foundation of any civilised democracy, yet Spain appears hell bent on ripping up its image as a modern democracy with a return to its dark Francoist past.

It stands accused of using the warrants for politically motivated prosecutions and of forcing complicity onto their neighbours by asking them to take action against exiled Catalans. Yet the strategy is backfiring spectacularly from Belgium and Switzerland, to Germany and now Scotland.

The arrest warrant refers to abstract acts of violence and mobilising violent crowds, yet nowhere are they able to specify a single act of violence or incitement attributable to Clara. They accuse Clara of orchestrating violence at over 2000 polling booths, yet there is no mention of the brutal violence deployed by several thousand Spanish Police and 6000 state security forces on a people simply trying to vote.

Even in Spain’s timeline of accusations against Clara it has a problem; Carles Puigdemont was appointed on January 10 2016 as President of Catalonia with the support of 70 parliamentarians out of 135 members of Parliament. Clara Ponsatí only joined the government in July 2017 as a minister, was never an MP, yet is being held responsible for the actions of the Catalan government which began in 2015. I appreciate she is an extremely clever academic but even Clara has not yet built a time machine.

As for the question of misappropriation of public funds for the referendum, this is a charge that both Clara and the President could face up to eight years in prison. It is of note however that in a ruling of November 9 2017, the Spanish Supreme Court acknowledged that there had been no misappropriation of public funds by the Catalan government. They classify the charge as being one that involves ‘corruption’ which is recognised as an ‘abuse of power for personal gain’, we are yet to see how that applies to Professor Ponsati.

It will be submitted that that the execution of the EAWs should be rejected as there are serious reasons to believe that the delivery to Spain of Clara would violate the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial, the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of thought, the right of association and the right to liberty and security. We have a concern that if she is returned to a prison in Madrid that Spain cannot and will not guarantee her safety and she faces a real threat to her life whether it be from the authorities or fellow prisoners.

Of course Spain is a modern democracy which abides by the rule of law, but with over half of the Catalan government either in exile or in custody, the prosecutions are being described as a politically motivated attempt to criminalise the desire of independence of more than two million voters. For Spanish officials to talk of ‘decapitating the Catalan Government’ is not democratic or peaceful.

We recognise we face an uphill struggle in taking on a foreign government with unlimited resources at its disposal. I have described this as akin to ‘David versus Goliath’ but my instructions are to robustly defend Clara.

It is absolutely right that Nicola Sturgeon has refused to interfere in the legal process, had she done so then her government would be no different to that of Spain. In the end Clara’s fate now lies in the hands of the Scottish judiciary who are recognised as acting impartially and are fiercely independent. The process is likely to last several weeks if not months.