More than 40 MEPs from 15 countries demand release of Catalan leaders
Representatives of all EU groups except for EPP also reject the European arrest warrants and call for EU mediation
More than 40 MEPs from 15 different member states have demanded the release of the Catalan leaders who are in prison, and for those who are in exile not to be extradited. In a text named ‘Manifesto for Dialogue in Catalonia’ the representatives also urge “EU institutions to mediate in the conflict between Catalonia and Spain to find a political solution.”
With most of the jailed Catalan leaders charged with rebellion and misuse of public funds, the manifesto says that under Spanish law “peaceful and orderly demonstrations do not constitute a crime of rebellion.” It also points out that “organizing and holding a referendum is not a crime in Spain” and that the Spanish government has already confirmed that “no public funds were used to organize the 1st of October referendum.”
In its support of the prisoners, the text notes that under Spanish law pre-trial detention can last for four years, while it appeals to Germany to avoid extraditing deposed president Carles Puigdemont “as the possibility of a fair trial is remote.” The signatories also call on Belgium, the UK and Switzerland to avoid extraditing Toni Comín, Lluís Puig, Meritxell Serret, Clara Ponsatí, Marta Rovira and Anna Gabriel, who are all seeking refuge in those countries.
MEPs from all European Parliament groups, except for the People’s Party, signed the manifesto, including the vice president of the Socialists in the European chamber Tanja Fajon, the former Slovenian foreign minister Ivo Vajgl, and Barbara Spinelli, the daughter of one of the EU founders. The signatories were from Slovenia, Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium, Romania, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Scotland, Catalonia, Galicia or the Basque country. The initiative will be presented in Barcelona on April 20.