Some 13 MEPs from several EU member states will meet the pro-independence jailed leaders incarcerated in three Catalan prisons on Friday. It will be the first time that some MEPs will visit them, after not having been authorized by Spanish authorities to do so for months when they were in custody in some Madrid region prisons. Between July 4 and July 11 the nine officials were transferred to Catalan penitentiary centers.
The 13 MEPs are members of the EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform, aiming to persuade the Union to intervene in the political conflict between Catalonia and Spain. The officials visiting the prisoners include platform president former Slovenian foreign minister Ivo Vajgl, the Portuguese Socialist MEP Ana Gomes, Irish MEPs Martina Anderson and Lynn Boylan, the Flemish MEP Mark Demesmaeker, and the French MEP Marie-Pierre Vieu. These are members of all the European Parliament groups except for the People’s Party.
Catalan pro-independence MEPs Ramon Tremosa, Jordi Solé and Josep Maria Terricabras will also join the visit, along with Basque MEPs Izaskun Bilbao and Josu Juaristi, and Galician MEPs Ana Miranda and Lidia Senra.
Denial to see leaders
This comes more than ten months since the first activists and politicians were jailed ahead of the October 2017 events in Catalonia including a referendum on self-determination and the declaration of independence. At the moment, nine officials are behind bars pending a trial. They are being prosecuted for rebellion, which might carry up to 30 years in jail.
The MEPs complained several times about the former Spanish government’s denial for them to see the incarcerated leaders. When the Socialist cabinet was formed, they sent a letter to the new Spanish home affairs minister asking for his “collaboration” in allowing the visit.
“If this happened in a third world country we would there to be problems with the rule of law and the basic rights of prisoners and citizens, how can this happen in Spain?” asked Ana Gomes talking to the Catalan News Agency (ACN) some weeks ago on this issue.