The 66-year-old was released by a judge and summoned to appear at the Supreme Court on April 24th over “prosecution for a crime of disobedience,” the court said.
Ponsati does not risk prison, however, owing to legal reforms in Spain, where Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has adopted a strategy of dialogue with the moderate separatists and pardoning those involved in the independence bid.
Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, Ponsati and fellow MEP Toni Comín led efforts by Catalonia’s separatist regional government to stage an independence referendum in October 2017 despite a ban by Madrid. The vote was marred by police violence.
Several weeks later, the Catalan administration issued a short-lived declaration of independence, triggering a political crisis that prompted Puigdemont and several others to flee.
“I have come to denounce the systematic violation of our rights,” Ponsati told a news conference in Barcelona, a few hours after entering Spain from France by car.
Puigdemont denounced her “illegal arrest” on Twitter.
La detenció és il·legal. Però a Espanya l'estat de dret importa més aviat poc.
Ànims, @ClaraPonsati! https://t.co/TvpOz3Gkdb
— krls.eth / Carles Puigdemont (@KRLS) March 28, 2023
Ponsati, who fled Spain along with Puigdemont, first lived in Belgium and then in Scotland where she taught economics at the University of St Andrews.
Scotland dropped a Spanish request for her extradition after her election to the European Parliament in 2019 and subsequent move to Belgium.