“I will never stop denouncing the situation of jailed and exiled MPs,” says Parliament speaker
Torrent responds to the Barcelona Bar Association members who walked out when he criticized the existence of “political prisoners”
The Catalan parliament speaker, Roger Torrent, said that he will “never stop denouncing the situation of jailed and exiled MPs until they are at home.” Torrent vowed to “defend the rights of all MPs” in Parliament, including those who are in Brussels, as well as those who are in prison. “It is my duty to defend their rights,” he said.
This came a day after the Catalan parliament speaker denounced the existence of “political prisoners” in Spain at a speech to the Bar Association of Barcelona (ICAB). Yet his reference to “political prisoners” did not sit well with part of his audience of lawyers. In protest, some walked out and left the room.
Torrent noted that everyone must enjoy freedom of expression, including those who walked out and left the room. In addition, the Catalan parliament speaker urged lawyers to “defend rights and freedom”.
“It is my duty to defend their rights”
Roger Torrent · Catalan parliament speaker
Judiciary members boycott Catalan Parliament president
Among the individuals that left while Torrent spoke and later returned to the event was the President of the Spanish Supreme Court in Catalonia Jesús Maria Barrientos, the Attorney General of Catalonia Francisco Bañeres, the former dean of ICAB and the former vice president of the Constitutional Court Eugeni Gay, and lawyer José María Fuster-Fabra. Additionally, the Attorney General for Barcelona, Concepció Taló, left the building itself.
The controversial comments that Torrent made were on the “crisis” that rule of law is undergoing in the country, that the separation of powers is “quaking” and that the “regression” in rights and freedoms has been observed with higher “intensity” in Catalonia. The Minister of Justice, Rafael Catalá, also participated in the event.