British Government cannot continue its silence over Catalan imprisonments

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Hywel Williams leads cross-party calls for support for political prisoners in Urgent Question

Hywel Williams MP today called on the British Government to exert diplomatic pressure on Spain directly and through the EU to review the imprisonment on nine pro-independence Catalan politicians.

Nine pro-independence Catalan politicians were jailed by the Spanish Supreme Court on Monday (14 October), including the former vice-president Oriol Junqueras, The former Catalan foreign minister Raül Romeva and Carme Forcadell, a former speaker of the Catalan parliament.

Responding to the statement the Foreign Office Minister, Chris Pincher, repeated that this was a matter for the Spanish state.

Members from the Scottish National Party, Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats all indicated their support for the Catalan prisoners.

The Speaker, John Bercow, also said that the Catalan independence leader, Carels Pugidemont, would be welcome to come and speak in Parliament, rejecting any idea that the UK should arrest and extradite Mr Puigdemont to Spain.

Hywel Williams MP said:

“The British Government has stayed spinelessly silent on the political imprisonment and the brutal violence exerted against Catalans. Disappointingly the British Government continued with their useless silence today.

“If the Speaker was to bring a debate on Welsh independence to the Chamber of the House of Commons, it would be unthinkable that the British State would seek to jail them. But that is the situation that the Speaker of the Catalan Parliament has found herself in.

“The Minister, who is part of a Government that just a few weeks ago was found to have acted unlawfully, hid behind semantics to avoid condemning the brutal repression on Catalans.

“The rule of law justified apartheid in South Africa, but that does not detract from the fact that it was a moral outrage.

“We cannot stand by and let the horrific scenes in Catalonia and the imprisonment of Catalan leaders go by with such lame excuses.”

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