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All the living former presidents of Catalonia and speakers of the Catalan Parliament, as well as the Catalan ombudsman, have signed a joint statement calling for the four political prisoners on hunger strike to bring their protest to a close.

The text was spearheaded by the ombudsman, Rafael Ribó and signed by Jordi PujolPasqual MaragallJosé MontillaArtur Mas and Carles Puigdemont, every former Catalan president since the first post-Franco democratic election in 1980. Joining them are the living former speakers of the Catalan Parliament: Joan RigolErnest BenachNúria de Gispert and Carme Forcadell, the latter also in pretrial detention following last year's referendum.

They argue that the protest "has already given visibility to their legal situation and raised awareness nationally and internationally". They also note that the Constitutional Court has started to resolve some of the pending appeals, the strikers' initial claim, which will allow them to turn to European courts.

Hunger strike

The letter has been published on the 19th day of hunger strike for Jordi Turull and Jordi Sànchez, and the 16th day for Quim Forn and Josep Rull.

Translation of the full text:

The Catalan ombudsman and the under-signed (former speakers of the Parliament and presidents of Catalonia) address Joaquim Forn, Josep Rull, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Turull and ask them to continuing putting an end to the hunger strike they have been carrying out for almost three weeks in Lledoners prison.

We believe that the hunger strike has made their legal situation more visible and has raised awareness nationally and internationally. At the same time, the Constitutional Court has now set a timetable for the resolution of the appeals brought in recent months, and has already resolved some of them.

At this time, it's necessary to think about safeguarding their right to life and health and guaranteeing their participation with full abilities in the imminent defence phase of the process and, further on, in the country's political future.