03.05.2017 - 12:01
The APPG group on Catalonia, created last March in the British Parliament by MPs from the main parties in Westminster, have sent a letter to Spain’s President, Mariano Rajoy, expressing their “concern” over the prosecution of the Catalan Parliament’s president, Carme Forcadell, who faces court “for simply permitting the debate” on independence in the Chamber. The signers consider it “a clear breach of the fundamental democratic right to free speech” and “urge” the Spanish Government “to drop the prosecution”. Forcadell was brought before the court in December accused of disobedience for allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote among the Catalan MPs on the 27th of July and will face trial again on Monday for the same case.
The letter, sent to Rajoy in both Spanish and English, is signed by three SNP MPs: the promoter of the APPG, George Kerevan, Chris Law, and Tommy Sheppard. The Labour Party is represented by Roger Godsiff and so are the conservatives, with Pauline Latham, among the signers, and Lord Rennard representing the Lib-Dems. Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams also signed the letter.
The document also calls on Rajoy to give the MPs “a speedy reply”
This is not the first time that a group of British MPs have expressed their concern regarding the use of the courts to resolve political differences in Spain. In March, a group of representatives in the House of Commons presented an ‘Early Day Motion’ calling on the Spanish Government “to declare its adherence” to the right of “democratically elected parliamentarians to hold a referendum”. The petition, signed by SNP MP George Kerevan, the Irish Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) MP, Mark Durkan, and Plaid Cymru’s Hwyel Williams, also condemned the sentences given to former Catalan President, Artur Mas, former Vice President, Joana Ortega, and former Catalan Minister for Education, Irene Rigau, for allowing the 9-N nonbinding vote on independence in November, 2014.
Already in December, a group of 15 British MPs reported on the “prosecution” of Carme Forcadell, for allowing a debate on independence in the Catalan Chamber and warned such prosecution might set “a dangerous precedent”.