Raül Romeva in February 2017

The Catalan political prisoners are ready to defend the “legitimacy” of the October 2017 independence referendum and will not hide the fact that it was they who organised it. That is what the former ministers Oriol Junqueras and Raül Romeva said in an interview from the prison where they are waiting for their trial.

One of the arguments they will use in their defense is that calling referendums was decriminalised in Spain in 2005. Former foreign minister Romeva said that they will also cite the two Quebec independence referendums and the Canadian Supreme Court reaction as an example.

In the interview, Romeva also claimed that the prosecuted politicians will highlight that the real crime is prohibiting such a vote. The leaders will also argue that the solution to the Catalonia–Spain crisis should come from politics and not the courts. “Jailing us will not only fail to make the problem disappear, but with our appearances before the court we will put a focus on the conflict that is necessary” said Romeva.


Junqueras, the former Catalan vice president, said in another interview, with Italian newspaper La Stampa, that he expects he will probably be sentenced to prison, but that it won’t make him give up his desire for independence.

He also repeated some of Romeva’s arguments. “Ultimately I am happy, as I will be able to explain to Spaniards and Europeans that we have not committed any crime and that organizing a referendum is not punishable in the penal code.”