Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis among figures demanding release of ‘political prisoners’
Several well-known personalities, including Pep Guardiola and Jody Williams, take part in video defending freedom of speech in Catalonia
A number of well-known public figures, including linguist Noam Chomsky and activist Angela Davis, have demanded the release of the nine "political prisoners" that have been in jail for months while awaiting trial for their part in last year’s independence bid.
A video from the pro-independence civic organization Òmnium Cultural, whose president Jordi Cuixart is one of those in pre-trial prison, also includes statements from the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Jody Williams, the lawyer Ben Emmerson, the journalist Martín Caparrós and the Catalan football coach Pep Guardiola, along with Bill Shipsey, founder of Art for Amnesty (part of Amnesty International).
The video was directed by photojournalist and 2011 World Press Photo prize winner, Samuel Aranda.
"We demand justice and freedom," runs the campaign’s motto. In the video, the public figures not only demand that the nine jailed leaders to be freed, but they also defend freedom of speech in Catalonia.
"We are very concerned that in Spain every time there are more investigated people"
Martín Caparrós · Journalist
All seven widely recognized international figures taking part in the campaign condemn the rolling back of rights and freedoms in Spain, defend freedom of expression, and demand the release of the nine jailed Catalan political leaders.
Dissidence "should not be repressed"
"Freedom of opinion, expression and assembly, the right to vote, the freedom to dissent, are human rights that must be respected in a democracy," say Jody Williams and Noam Chomsky in the video.
"We are very concerned that in Spain every time there are more investigated people," adds Martín Caparrós.
"Dissidence makes societies more plural, and should not be politically repressed," states Angela Williams.
30-year prison sentences
According to Ben Emmerson, a lawyer specializing in Human Rights and who is taking the cases of several jailed and exiled leaders to the United Nations, said that "in Catalonia, civil and political rights are at stake."
The activists also stress that some politicians are facing charges with potential 30-year prison sentences, and they demand Spain solve this political conflict "through dialogue."
"We demand Spanish institutions stop the ideological repression," says Pep Guardiola in the video.