Spanish leader rejects meeting with Catalan president over independence trial

"It is inconceivable for us to talk about judges' verdicts," says Pedro Sánchez's second-in-command

The Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, on May 26, 2019 (by Roger Pi de Cabanyes)
The Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, on May 26, 2019 (by Roger Pi de Cabanyes) / ACN

ACN | Madrid

June 6, 2019 01:02 PM

"It is inconceivable for us to sit [at the negotiating table] to talk about judges' verdicts." With this remark the Spanish government has turned down a meeting between its leader, Pedro Sánchez, and the Catalan president, Quim Torra.

The latter urged Sánchez in a letter to engage in talks over the independence trial and the UN report demanding the "immediate" release of three jailed leaders.

Yet, the Spanish president's second-in-command, Carmen Calvo, said it is "unheard-of" that a head of government of a democracy should be asked to talk about the judiciary.

"[Torra] is asking the acting president, who represents executive power, to sit and talk about the judiciary. This is not going to happen. [Sánchez] will not meet with Torra," she added.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Catalan leader sent his Spanish counterpart a letter requesting an "urgent meeting" to discuss developments in the closing stages of the Catalan trial as well as the UN report calling for some of the imprisoned leaders to be released.

UN report

In parallel, on Thursday Torra and Foreign Minister Alfred Bosch asked all Catalan delegates abroad to send the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s paper to all "governments and parliaments."

Bosch also criticized Spain for questioning the report’s validity as it has argued there is a "conflict of interests" between two of the working group members and the defense lawyers.

"What is it with this questioning, mocking, and offending of official international bodies when what Spain should be doing is complying [with the UN]?" he asked at a meeting with the delegates in Brussels.