June 22, 2021
“Today’s pardon of Catalan prisoners is only the first step” – Chris MacManus MEP

“Today’s pardon of Catalan prisoners is only the first step” – Chris MacManus MEP

Sinn Féin MEP calls for an end to all legal pursuits against organisers of the Independence Referendum

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has welcomed the pardoning of nine Catalan political prisoners by the President of Spain, Pedro Sanchez. 

MEP MacManus, speaking from Brussels commented:

“I am pleased nine of the leaders seeking Catalan Independence will soon be returning home to their families. Their criminalisation for taking part in the 2017 referendum on Catalan independence has represented a stain on European democracy.”

“The Council of Europe assembly called out this injustice, as recently as yesterday, when it demanded the Spanish State reform its penal laws. This was in relation to the Spanish Judiciary supporting a cynical interpretation of their law on rebellion so as to include peaceful protest. They then utilised this problematic interpretation to imprison those pro-independence Catalan leaders.”

“It is however important to note, today’s decision does not go as far as to deliver the required general amnesty for all those facing legal implications for their involvement in the vote.”

“For example, over 40 officials of the Catalan administration, at the time of the vote, are dealing with criminal prosecutions, and a number of citizens have been or may be convicted for their participation in mass protests during polling day.”

MacManus concluded by outlining his party’s ongoing commitment, “Sinn Féin supports the right to self-determination for Catalonia and rejects this blatant use of judicial repression to resolve a political conflict. The Spanish Government must build on today’s progress, to enter a dialogue based on mutual respect. This is the only way to guarantee a lasting solution.” ENDS 

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