Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes, who has been called as a witness in the upcoming Catalan referendum trial, has come out in support of jailed former foreign affairs minister, Raül Romeva, praising his “commitment to democracy and Europeanism.”

In an interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN), Ana Gomes, who worked with Romeva during his time as an MEP in Brussels, also says that the upcoming trial of pro-independence leaders, including the former minister, has “no basis.”

Rejection of observers

While Gomes says she will attend the trial in which former officials and civic leaders are accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for organising the independence bid, she is critical of the Supreme Court’s refusal to allow observers witness the proceedings.

“It seems counterproductive because it gives the impression that Spain and the Spanish courts have something to hide” said Gomes, who added that, despite the court’s decision “the European Parliament or at least some MEPs will follow [the trial] with great attention.”

Baseless accusations

As for the talks between Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist government and the Catalan executive aimed at finding a political solution to the conflict, Gomes says “it’s a shame” that this process should depend so much on the outcome of the trial.

For Gomes, the Spanish prosecutor should have had the “courage” to refuse the “baseless” accusations, and she added that the prosecution of the leaders “could compromise the dialogue that Sánchez himself wanted to begin.”

Gomes also said she wished Sánchez had agreed to meet with the EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform when in Brussels recently. The Spanish president turned down a meeting with the group of MEPS in favor of a negotiated settlement to the Catalan conflict, citing a lack of time during his trip.