Exiled Catalan leader gets Swiss residence permit for five years
Former CUP MP Anna Gabriel to start a PhD at the University of Geneva
Anna Gabriel, a pro-independence leader seeking refuge in Switzerland to avoid prosecution in Spain, has been granted a five-year residence permit that will allow her to work in the country and apply for public positions, according to Gabriel’s mother, Maribel Sabaté. Speaking to a local radio station in Catalonia, Sabaté said her daughter will soon start a PhD at the University of Geneva.
Last February, Gabriel ignored a summons from the Supreme Court and traveled to Switzerland arguing she would not face a fair trial in Spain. In total, there are nine pro-independence leaders jailed in Madrid, while seven left Catalonia to seek refuge in other European countries.
A former leader of the far-left CUP party, Gabriel was a highly influential figure in the pro-independence movement, but held no government responsibilities. While former ministers and other officials will face trial for rebellion, Gabriel was charged with the lesser offence of disobedience.
"If these violations of civil and political rights are happening in a member state of the European Union, what might happen and be allowed to happen in other latitudes?”
Anna Gabriel · Former CUP MP
Gabriel is the only politician abroad for whom Spain did not issue a European Arrest Warrant. Other pro-independence leaders seeking refuge in Europe include former president Carles Puigdemont, currently in Germany awaiting a decision on his extradition.
Gabriel has been very active since she arrived in the country. Last March, she attended a debate at the headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, and said that she had chosen “the path of exile” to “denounce the infringement of civil and political rights” by the Spanish authorities.
Gabriel also warned the European Union about “closing its eyes” to the political situation in Catalonia. "If these violations of civil and political rights are happening in a member state of the European Union, what might happen and be allowed to happen in other latitudes?” asked Gabriel.