MEP witness praises jailed former minister's 'commitment to democracy'
Called to testify in the upcoming independence trial, Ana Gomes backs Raül Romeva and criticizes Supreme Court for not allowing international observers
An MEP who has been called as a witness in the upcoming independence trial has come out in support of jailed former foreign affairs minister, Raül Romeva, praising his "commitment to democracy and Europeanism."
In an interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN), Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes, who worked with Romeva during his time as an MEP in Brussels, also says that the upcoming trial of pro-independence leaders, including the former minister, has "no basis."
Rejection of observers in trial
While Gomes says she will attend the trial in which former officials and civic leaders are accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for organizing the independence bid, she is critical of the Supreme Court's refusal to allow observers witness the proceedings.
[Not accepting observers in court] seems counterproductive because it gives the impression that Spain and the Spanish courts have something to hide
Ana Gomes · Portuguese MEP and witness in independence trial
"It seems counterproductive because it gives the impression that Spain and the Spanish courts have something to hide," said Gomes, who added that, despite the court's decision "the European Parliament or at least some MEPs will follow [the trial] with great attention."
A "shame" talks depend on trial, says Gomes
As for the talks between Pedro Sánchez's Socialist government and the Catalan executive aimed at finding a political solution to the conflict, Gomes says "it's a shame" that this process should depend so much on the outcome of the trial.
For Gomes, the Spanish prosecutor should have had the "courage" to refuse the "baseless" accusations, and she added that the prosecution of the leaders "could compromise the dialogue that Sánchez himself wanted to begin."
EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform
Gomes also said she wished Sánchez had agreed to meet with the EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform when in Brussels recently. The Spanish president turned down a meeting with the group of MEPS in favor of a negotiated settlement to the Catalan conflict, citing a lack of time during his trip.