The Scottish lawyer who defended former Catalan minister Clara Ponsatí in her extradition case has called on the parties in favor of a republic to develop a “strategy” for independence that does not wait for the outcome of the trial against officials for organizing last year’s referendum. Aamer Anwar also recommended pro-independence leaders “not to recognise Spain’s legitimacy because it has acted illegally.”

Anwar made his comments in Barcelona, during the presentation of the book ‘La batalla de l’exili’ (The Exile Battle), by VilaWeb journalist Josep Casulleras.

Stressing the need to act “now,” the lawyer also called on the pro-independence movement to use “the power of the people” and not to focus so much on gaining international support. According to Anwar, the Spanish authorities have used the strategy of “divide and conquer” against the pro-independence parties, and he warned them about “falling into the trap.”

Apart from accusing Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, of acting like a “Francoist” in the Catalan conflict, the lawyer said that dictator Francisco Franco must now “be applauding in his grave because everyone is following in his footsteps.”

MPs’ suspension “completely illegal”

Anwar’s criticism of Spain was echoed by human rights professor, Neus Torbisco, who is part of the defense of pro-independence leaders in the UN’s human rights committee. She claimed the suspension of MPs charged with rebellion “is a completely illegal act on an international level.” Torbisco also regretted that “there has been no outcry on the international level” over the Supreme Court’s suspension of the jailed and exiled MPs, and therefore “carrying out a constant campaign” is necessary, although she doubted the “international battle” was being won.

Former president Carles Puigdemont’s lawyer, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, also spoke at the event, highlighting the importance of the upcoming trial. “It is one of the cases of most importance for our generation,” he said. Cuevillas also predicted that the trial would end before the local elections in May, although the lawyer also estimated that the sentencing would not take place until next autumn, while it could take the Constitutional Court up to five years to resolve all the appeals.