Former Catalan councillor detained on arrival in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
former Catalan councillor
ASSSA

BARCELONA – Clara Ponsatí, a former councillor to the Catalan government and current member of the European Parliament has been detained for hours by the Catalan police after returning to Barcelona after five years of exile. 

Ponsatí had challenged the Supreme Court to enforce an injunction against her for disobedience stating that she was protected by her European immunity. However, she faces no jail time and will likely be released and face the Supreme Court. 

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Detention breathes new life into the “process”. 

El País writes that Ponsatí’s detention on her return to Spain revived the “trial”. The arrest was criticised by her colleagues in the European Parliament and in the former Catalan government, including Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín. Furthermore, they called her arrest “illegal” and denounced the “injustice” of the Spanish justice system. 

Ponsatí must be in Brussels on Wednesday 

Consequently, Carles Puigdemont has urged the President of the European Parliament to take action. This is so that Ponsati can attend the chamber’s next sessions. Toni Comín has also expressed his emotion at the temporary return of his “sister in exile”. Moreover, both have insisted that Ponsati must attend the plenary session in Brussels on Wednesday. 

“Shameful” 

“The persecution of the exiles has been shameful, but persistent,” said the MEP at a press conference at the Catalan College of Journalists in the centre of Barcelona. 

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Ponsatí was asked if she would surrender herself to the police. She responded, “We don’t recognise Judge Llarena’s jurisdiction, it would be inconsistent to do so”. “If there is an arrest we will act on it, I can’t make predictions,” she added. 

The arrest 

That actually happened minutes later, as she was on her way to the El Born district. At the time, she was accompanied by her lawyer and a handful of demonstrators who recognised her on the street. An agent of the Mossos d’Esquadra approached her, and asked for her identity card. She then showed her Euro-Parliamentary ID. Finally, she agreed to get into a car and was taken to the Ciudad de la Justicia. 

Judge Larena will be “disobedient” 

The “ex-president” and his former adviser Toni Comín are convinced that if Judge Llarena does not allow Ponsatí to participate in the plenary session of the European Parliament, he will be “disobedient” to European justice. That’s what Carles Puigdemont said in an impromptu press conference from Brussels. 

Shortcomings of the Spanish State 

According to the former president of Catalonia, Ponsatí has “exposed the shortcomings of the Spanish state”, because “a person with immunity cannot be detained”. For this reason, he has urged the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, to act so that the MEP can be present at the chamber’s next sessions and believes it would be “rare” if she would not act. 

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