Spain: MEPs prevented from visiting high-profile Catalans in prison


Spain  
MEPs prevented from visiting high-profile Catalans in prison
21.12.17
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A group of seven MEPs from four different parliamentary groups have been denied entry to the Estremera prison where the Catalan politicians Oriol Junqueras and Joaquim Forn, who were arrested after the 1 October independence vote in Catalonia, are being held.

Despite making requests to visit for the past month, the four MEPs say that the prison authorities refused to provide them access, and would not even talk to them by telephone.

Nevertheless, the MEPs travelled to the prison on Tuesday morning in the hope of being permitted entry but were refused.

The group has denounced the violation of fundamental rights represented by the refusal, arguing that as MEPs they have the right to visit any prisoner in Europe and that the situation they faced at the Estremera prison is not normal.

In early December complaints were raised by the MEPs about the "hurdles" raised by the Spanish authorities in order to prevent a visit the Estremera prison and two others, Alcalá Meco and Soto del Real.

Until their release at the beginning of December, Alcalá Meco held two members of the Catalan government that was removed following the imposition of Article 155 of the Constitution by the Spanish government. Four other ex-members of the Catalan government were released on bail from Estremera at the same time. The leaders of the organisations Omnium Cultural and the Catalan National Assembly, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, are being held in Soto del Real.

The MEPs present at Estremera were Maria Terricabras, Jordi Solé, José Bove and Tatjana Zdanoka (Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament), Ramon Tremosa (ALDE), Tatjana Zdanoka and Marie Pierre Vieu (GUE/NGL) and Mark Demesmaeker (ECR).

Sources

Impedeixen a eurodiputats visitar Junqueras, Forn, Sànchez i Cuixart a la presó (Corporació Catalana de Mitjans Audiovisuals, 19 December 2017)

Los exconsejeros catalanes presos en Estremera salen de la cárcel tras abonar las fianzas de 100.000 euros (Europa Press, 4 December 2017)

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