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Nobel laureate shows support for 'political prisoners' during Parliament visit

Activist Jody Williams says the "human rights" of Catalan independence leaders on trial must be defended

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12 April 2019 04:38 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams on Friday expressed her support for Catalan independence leaders being tried in Spain's Supreme Court, referring to them as "political prisoners" and to the court case as a "political trial."

Williams, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her human rights work, was visiting the Catalan parliament to take part in a commission on civil and political rights, and she met with the parliament president, Roger Torrent, beforehand.

"If we don't defend the human rights of political prisoners, who will defend us when they come for us?" said Williams, in a press appearance held jointly with Torrent following their meeting.

  • "If we don't defend the human rights of political prisoners, who will defend us when they come for us?"

    Jody Williams · Nobel Peace Prize laureate

For his part, Torrent said "the best way of defending fundamental rights is by exercising them," and he pointed out that among the 12 Catalan leaders on trial is Carme Forcadell, who he said is "the only parliament speaker to be imprisoned for allowing open debate."

Williams was in Madrid earlier in the week to attend a session of the trial in the Supreme Court, which she later described as a “grotesque abridgment of human rights.” She also said that by jailing the leaders, the Spanish judiciary is “already implying they are guilty.”

“I’m here,” said Williams on Tuesday, “because I think the most important thing for a government to do is to promote and support its peoples’ human rights.” However, she added, what she is seeing is that “Spain’s unity is more important than the truth.”

Williams meets with Torra

Williams later met with president Quim Torra in the government headquarters. Torra thanked her for her "defense of human rights" and her support to Catalonia's right to self-determination.

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  • Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams speaks to the press after a meeting with Catalan president Quim Torra (by ACN)

  • Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams speaks to the press after a meeting with Catalan president Quim Torra (by ACN)