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Ex Scottish Minister Nicola Sturgeon Arrested Surrounding The Finances Of The Party

LONDON (AP) — Former Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who dominated politics in Scotland for almost a decade, was arrested and questioned for several hours on Sunday by police investigating the finances of the governing, pro-independence Scottish National Party.

Police Scotland said a 52-year-old woman was detained Sunday morning “as a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party.”

She was “released without charge pending further investigation” about six hours later, the force said. British police do not identify suspects until they are charged.

Sturgeon said after her release that her arrest had been “both a shock and deeply distressing.”

“Obviously, given the nature of this process, I cannot go into detail,” she said in a statement on social media. “However, I do wish to say this, and to do so in the strongest possible terms. Innocence is not just a presumption I am entitled to in law. I know beyond doubt that I am in fact innocent of any wrongdoing.”

The SNP said the party had been “cooperating fully with this investigation and will continue to do so. However, it is not appropriate to publicly address any issues while that investigation is ongoing.”

It is highly unusual for a leader or former leader of a UK political party to be arrested. The last such case also concerned the Scottish Nationalists: Sturgeon’s predecessor as first minister, Alex Salmond, was arrested in 2019 and charged with a series of sexual offenses, including attempted rape. He was acquitted on all 13 charges after a trial in January 2020.

Before that, in 1979, the former Liberal party leader, Jeremy Thorpe, went on trial, accused of conspiracy and incitement to murder. The man he was charged with trying to kill claimed they had a sexual relationship at a time when homosexuality was illegal. Thorpe denied his claim and was acquitted.

 

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