By Professor Clara Ponsati

THERE was a quiet sense of relief when I was finally released from custody. As my lawyer, Aamer Anwar, ushered me into a side room inside the court complex he warned me of the huge crowd that awaited my exit.

As I emerged from Edinburgh Sheriff Court on the afternoon of Wednesday March 28, to hit a thick wall of hundreds of cameras, media professionals and a cheering crowd waving Catalan flags, I felt like I was in an unreal scene.

I lived the moment as if someone else – not me – was the main character, such was the distance between reality and anything I had ever imagined about myself (and, believe me, I do have a powerful imagination). But the people were chanting "Clara, Clara", so I guessed it must have been me they were cheering.

Revealed: The inside story of St Andrews professor Clara Ponsati

There was a beautiful moment when Aamer could not hear himself speak to the media and he turned to the crowd, putting his finger to his lips, asking the crowd to stop chanting. Instinctively, with a smile on my face, I joined in with him. Despite the day I had it was a happy moment, full of hope which all those gathered felt part of.

I am now back home in tranquil St Andrews, free on bail. Everybody asks me how I am feeling and, of course, in public I can show resolve, but I remember the tears that welled up in my eyes when I sat in Aamer’s office before we left for St Leonard's police office in Edinburgh.

In the coming days, weeks and months I will face proceedings in the Sheriff Court to contest Spain's extradition demand. I face this prospect with a mixture of determination and confidence, but also with deep anxiety and anguish for the fate of my colleagues who lie languishing in Spanish prisons or face being hunted across Europe.

I am told that Scotland has an independent judiciary, firmly committed to democracy and the respect of human rights, so of course I am hopeful that justice will prevail.

But the abuses of human rights by Spanish authorities are unprecedented – they get worse and worse day by day. So, I am weary of what evil they are capable of in their relentless crusade to crush the Catalans' will to be free.

Aamer Anwar: 'Spain appears hell bent on ripping up its image as a modern democracy with a return to its dark Francoist past'

In my wildest imagination I never thought I would be threatened with being incarcerated for a lifetime as a political prisoner, or that my only alternative would be to face a lifetime in exile from my beautiful Catalonia. My whole life has been dedicated to the pursuit of academic excellence, I have never committed a criminal offence let alone orchestrated a violent rebellion.

So the answer to the question "how do I feel?" – well, the truthful answer is that I am tired and would like to have some quiet time, but I know it is not yet the time to rest.

I have always been a fiercely free person, and I am determined to remain free. We are taking on a Spanish Government with unlimited resources and have a long fight ahead. I have been overwhelmed by the support shown in Scotland, across the UK, in Catalonia and across Europe. This support has given me the drive, determination and spirit to take on this fight. It may be long but I know that we are on the right side of history.