Spain: Catalan president demands immediate release of referendum organisers

Catalan President Joaquim Torra demanded the immediate release of the politicians imprisoned following the failed 2017 Catalan independence referendum while visiting the Lledoners prison north of Barcelona on Wednesday.

“I demand, once again, the immediate release of our colleagues,” Torra said. “I ask the Spanish government to follow the requirements of major human rights organisations, to release them immediately. Amnesty International, Human Right Watch, and the UN itself have demanded this.”

The prisoners, Oriol Junqueras, Raul Romeva, Jordi Sanchez, Jordi Cuixart, Joaquim Forn, Josep Rull and Jordi Turull, were transferred to Lledoners on Wednesday after being held in Madrid during their trial.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the prison with signs calling for their “acquittal.”

Catalonia’s former Minister of Culture, Laura Borras, said, “We know the reason for them to be imprisoned in the first place was to be sure to go to the trial, but now the trial is over and they’re still not free.”

The defendants have been in pre-trial custody since 2018 for having organised the independence referendum which the Spanish government says is in breach of the country’s constitution. Although the trial phase is over, no verdict is expected from the court until September.


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