Members of the EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform have held a press conference in the European Parliament in Strasbourg to denounce the political trial against Catalan political and social leaders, that started today in Madrid. Ivo Vajgl, Ramon Tremosa, António Marinho e Pinto (ALDE), Matt Carthy, Eleonora Forenza, Barbara Spinelli, Marie-Pierre Vieu (GUE/NGL), Indrek Tarand, José Bové, Jordi Solé and Josep-Maria Terricabras (Greens- EFA) expressed their deep concerns about the ongoing trial in Spain.
Ivo Vajgl, as Chairman of EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform, stated that the Members “will be closely following this political trial from Brussels, but also personally from Madrid, as international observers”. He also rejected the false narrative behind the accusation and denounced that “this is a political trial”. “Dialogue and negotiation, not imprisonment and criminal prosecution, should have been the instruments through which Catalonia’s legitimate and democratic right to self-determination ought to have been channelled” he stated.
José Bové took a stand against these political trials that he described as “scandalous” and urged Spanish authorities to release immediately the prisoners. Barbara Spinelli and Eleonora Forenza also took the floor to remind the violence used by police forces against peaceful voters on the 1st of October 2017 Catalan self-determination referendum. Matt Carthy also highlighted that if these events had been committed in another part of the world, the European institutions would already have called for political negotiations. “The European institutions cannot remain anymore silent”, added Marie-Pierre Vieu.
Lastly, Indrek Tarand also declared that Spain could have prevented the current situation by allowing the organisation of a self-determination referendum in Catalonia that, as claimed by António Marinho e Pinto, is a fundamental right of Catalan people.
The Spanish Supreme Court is currently judging twelve Catalan leaders for having organized a self-determination referendum on 1 October 2017. Nine of the twelve Catalan political prisoners (six former members of the Catalan Government, the former Speaker of Parliament and two civil society leaders) had already spent more than one year in arbitrary pre-trial detention. They are accused of rebellion, disobedience and embezzlement of public funds with a potential prison sentence of up to 25 years, since the crime of rebellion, which involves a ‘violent and public uprising’, is one of the most serious crimes in the Spanish criminal code.