'Dreadful outcome': international response to convictions of 2017 referendum leaders

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among the first public figures abroad to react to the sentencing of Catalan leaders

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon (by Reuters)
Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon (by Reuters) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 14, 2019 12:37 PM

A "dreadful outcome" was how Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the conviction of Catalan independence leaders, adding: "These politicians have been jailed for seeking to allow the people of Catalonia to peacefully choose their own future."

Responding to the news of Monday's convictions on Twitter, Sturgeon added: "Any political system that leads to such a dreadful outcome needs urgent change. My thoughts and solidarity are with all of them and their families."

As for the European Union's response, the EU Commission made an official statement saying it "fully respects" the Supreme Court verdict, but also stressing that the right to peacefully protest "is guaranteed all across Europe."

Aamer Anwar, the Scottish lawyer of exiled former minister, Clara Ponsatí, called for the "immediate release of the imprisoned people and the free return of those exiled," on Twitter, and detailed the sentences of each of those convicted.

The European Greens called the sentences "disproportionate," and the party's head, German MEP Ska Keller, predicted that the convictions "will only deepen the crisis," adding that a political solution "can't happen with political leaders imprisoned."

Finnish MP, Mikko Kärnä, called the leaders "political prisoners" who have been "jailed for defending democracy." Calling for the EU to impose sanctions on Spain, Kärnä also said that next week "I will submit a motion to the Finnish Parliament for your recognition."

Also on Twitter, the former Greek finance minister, Yannis Vaorufakis, was critical of the convictions, saying: "The rest of us must rise up against politicians being sentenced to long prison stretches in the heart of Europe for pursuing political agendas mandated by voters."