Jun 05, 2019

Catalonia: Demands Gather for Release of Political Prisoners after UN Report

In a new report by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the imprisonment of three Catalan independence leaders has been described as “arbitrary”. In the report, which was released last Wednesday [29 May 2019], the UN experts called for their immediate release as well as compensation. These recommendations were echoed by Catalan President Quim Torra, who once more called upon the Spanish authorities for the release of the Catalan political prisoners.


Below is an article published by The National:

Catalan President Quim Torra has called for the immediate release of independence leaders currently [June 2019] on trial in Madrid after a UN body described as “arbitrary” the detention of Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart.

In a report, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said their detentions violated their rights to freedom of expression, demonstration and participation and said they were in jail “for their political ideas”.

In a statement, Torra said: “Our political and social representatives should never have entered prison because they have defended the democratic rights of all Catalans,”

“This is a resolution taken by the highest authority and international authority in this area and anyone who intends to minimise it or reduce its value will be mistaken.

“Their resolutions are mandatory and if the Kingdom of Spain does not comply, they will be in violation of international law. It is a demolishing resolution for Spain.”

His remarks came after his predecessor, Carles Puigdemont, and former minister Toni Comin were barred from entering the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday [29 May 2019].

Both were elected as MEPs in the European elections, despite being in self-imposed exile in Belgium.

Puigdemont described the decision as a “dirty game”, and added: “We hope the European Parliament doesn’t follow the same path as the Spanish authorities and their tendency to violate fundamental rights. We won the elections in Catalonia, but the ‘democratic’ general secretary of the European Parliament considers that our voters are less respectable than the rest.

“Is this the real European democracy? We will continue to fight for freedom, for human rights.”

A spokesperson for the European Parliament said it could only issue accreditation papers to MEPs once it had received the national lists with the details of those who have been elected.

Puigdemont, Comin and jailed former vice-president Junqueras will have to swear an oath of allegiance to the Spanish constitution in Madrid before being allowed to take their seats in Brussels.

However, the former president and Comin face arrest should they try to enter Spain.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons