500 international MPs and ex-MPs support jailed former Catalan parliament speaker
Document backed by officials from some 20 countries demands "immediate release" of Carme Forcadell
Some 500 MPs and former MPs from around 20 countries have signed a manifesto supporting the former Catalan parliament speaker, Carme Forcadell, who has been in pre-trial detention since March.
The text demands her "immediate release," after she was jailed to await trial for allowing debates and votes on independence while chamber speaker.
The Spanish public prosecutor is asking that Forcadell serve a 17-year prison sentence for the crime of rebellion.
Some 35 MEPs have backed the manifesto, including a European Parliament vice president, Heidi Hautala (Greens-EFA), and the head of the Green group, Ska Keller.
MPs in some 20 countries
MPs in Germany, France, the UK, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Estonia, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Spain, Chile, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Quebec and Catalonia are also backing the initiative.
"Using the criminal law as an instrument of coercion for the activity of a parliament is incompatible with the principles of parliamentary democracies"
Officials launching manifesto backing Forcadell
Several members of other parliaments also support Forcadell, including a number of chamber speakers: Elin Jones (Wales), Jan Peumans (Flanders), Jean-Guy Talamoni (Corsica), Páll á Reynatúgvu (Faroe Islands), Barkartxo Tejeria (Basque Country) and Tricia Marwick (former president of the Scottish Parliament).
Two former Catalan chamber heads are launching the initiative, exclusively for individuals who have been members of parliaments, and their aim is to "denounce the unfair imprisonment of Forcadell for having allowed parliamentary debate."
"Using the criminal law as an instrument of coercion for the activity of a parliament is incompatible with the principles of parliamentary democracies," they say.
Some of the MEPs supporting the manifesto gathered in the European parliament on Thursday and took a group picture in Strasbourg, including the vice president of the chamber, Dimitris Papadimoulis, and the former Slovenian foreign minister Ivo Vajgl.
On Thursday evening an event in the Catalan parliament, in Barcelona, will be held to present the initiative.