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The Dutch member of the European Parliament who wrote the report accusing Hungary of threatening fundamental EU principles, Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA), has said in a press conference at the Parliament today that there are political prisoners in Spain, alluding to the Catalan pro-independence leaders in pretrial detention.

"Indeed, we have political prisoners. Actually, a former colleague of mine, Raül Romeva, who used to be very active here [in the Parliament] is in prison and I care for him. And I follow the case... I was in Madrid myself this week and I do hope that the new government of Spain is sticking to a different sort of approach," she said.

Sargentini was responding to a question from a Danish journalist as to whether she thinks that, after Hungary, there are other EU member states where "a critical look at what is happening could be of benefit". He specifically suggested Spain as a "deeply corrupt" country, seeing attacks on the press and having around ten political prisoners and a similar number of politicians and artists in exile. "Do you think that needs to be investigated," he asked.

Raül Romeva's partner, Diana Riba, thanked the MEP for her comments: "Indeed, it's clear: today in Spain there are political prisoners. Thank you Judith Sargentini for your forcefulness and for explaining that the lack of democratic quality of the [Spanish] state has to be investigated", she wrote on Twitter.