7 September 2018
Catalan political prisoners should be released immediately - Anderson
"As a former prisoner who is now an elected representative it is important that I visit these imprisoned Catalan elected representatives and raise their cases on the international stage." - Martina Anderson MEP
All Catalan political prisoners held by the Spanish authorities in relation to the Catalan independence referendum should be released immediately.
That was the call made by Sinn Féin MEPs Martina Anderson and Lynn Boylan who visited Catalan political prisoners in three jails today as part of a delegation of MEPs from across Europe.
The delegation visited nine political prisoners, including former ministers and elected representatives and well as independence activists. Seven of the male prisoners are currently being held in the Pententiary Center de Lledones while the two female prisoners are being held in separate prisons, Penetentiary Centre Mes d'Enric and Penetentiary Center Puig de las Basses.
Supporters of the political prisoners have tied yellow ribbons, the symbol of Catalan independence, to trees outside the prisons in a show of solidarity.
During the visit the Sinn Féin MEPs also met with the Catalan President Quim Torras, the Catalan Secretary for Foreign Affairs Natalie Mass as well as relatives of the prisoners and their legal representatives.
Speaking after visiting the political prisoners, Martina Anderson, herself a former political prisoner who served more than 13 years in English jails, called for their immediate release.
"As a former prisoner who is now an elected representative it is important that I visit these imprisoned Catalan elected representatives and raise their cases on the international stage.
"I was in Catalonia twice as an observer to the elections and saw at first hand the brutality meted out by the Spanish authorities against those who were simply trying to exercise their democratic right to self-determination.
"So it is unacceptable that Catalan elected representatives, including ministers, and independence activists should now find themselves in Spanish jails. And there are serious concerns that they will not get a fair trial.
"The continued detention of these Catalan political prisoners is an affront to democracy and they should be released immediately," she said.