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Parliament speaker warns of ‘criminalization’ of fundamental rights in letter to world leaders

Roger Torrent urges international community to help resolve conflict in Catalonia in letter to over 500 politicians

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24 October 2019 01:21 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Speaker of the parliament, Roger Torrent, has sent a letter to hundreds of politicians, parliament speakers, and international organizations, mostly in the EU, arguing that the Supreme Court ruling in the Catalan Trial "establishes a very worrisome precedent in a Member State of the European Union, since it criminalizes" the exercise of fundamental rights. 

Last week, Spain's Supreme Court found Catalan independence leaders guilty of crimes of sedition and misuse of public funds. Nine were sentenced to jail terms of between 9-13 years, sparking a huge wave of protests and unrest across the country.

In addition, Torrent’s letter urges the promotion of initiatives aimed at resolving “the political conflict in Catalonia" through “political, democratic and peaceful means”. "Guaranteeing that the European Union respects fundamental rights and freedoms is a shared responsibility of all Europeans," he says.

Specifically, Torrent wanted to give his view on the ruling to the presidents of different European parliaments, as well as to the more than 500 speakers and politicians from nearly 50 parliaments around the world. 

He also sent the letter to international organizations and personalities with whom he met during his time as speaker of the Catalan Parliament, such as the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatovic, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.

Torrent affirms in the letter that the Catalan Trial verdict has generated "commotion" in the Catalan society, and emphasizes that his predecessor Carme Forcadell has been sentenced "for defending that parliaments be able to speak about everything, for having protected the right to political representation and the freedom of expression of the chamber’s Members."

Roger Torrent also explains that Spain’s Supreme Court "has twisted the criminal code" to attribute "a crime that requires the use of force, a circumstance that has never been the case,” to the political and social leaders sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

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  • Catalan Parliament president Roger Torrent on July 4, 2019 (Roger Pi de Cabanyes/ACN)

  • Catalan Parliament president Roger Torrent on July 4, 2019 (Roger Pi de Cabanyes/ACN)

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