PEN Club’s American branch  has issued a statement criticising the repression of Spain against the Catalan independence movement. PEN America criticises the long preventative prison of political prisoners. “Regardless of the opinion on the question of Catalan independence, what is at stake here is the right to peacefully disagree and defend political alternatives”, the statement reads.

It also warns of the restrictions of rights and freedoms in Spain and puts some examples, such as the persecution against rapper Valtònyc, La Insurgencia or Casandra Vera and the sentences for artistic contents in lyrics, tweets or even songs sung by puppets. “The right to dissent and express and disseminate ideas are basic components of freedom of expression and a cornerstone of democratic society”, according to PEN America.

About the independence referendum of 1-O 2017, PEN America says that the intervention of the Spanish police and the paramilitary Civil Guard was “an unacceptable restriction on the free peaceful expression” of citizenship. PEN America stresses that surveys show that the majority of the Catalan society is favourable to a referendum of self-determination.