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Fallout continues from the decision by Spain's Supreme Court, on Monday 14th October, to sentence nine pro-independence civil and political leaders to almost 100 years in total in prison for sedition.

One of the big winners from this Monday's Canadian general election, in which prime minister Justin Trudeau lost his majority, was centre-left Bloc Québécois. The Quebec nationalist party jumped from 10 to 32 members of Parliament and into third place in the whole of Canada.

The party's leader, Yves-François Blanchet, in his speech once the results were clear, ended by saying: "I ask the new prime minister, formally and solemnly, on my honour and his, to ask for the release of the Catalan political prisoners." Video shows party members breaking into a chant of "liberty".

He went on to "demand the end of the violence against members of the public of a nation which is among the most pacific in the world."

Latin American

Further south, meanwhile, some thirty MPs from Latin America issued a joint manifesto this Wednesday strongly criticising the sentences. The politicians, mostly from Colombia, but alongside others from ChileArgentinaMexico and Guatemala, express their "astonishment that the Spanish state aims to discipline the autonomy embodied by Catalan authorities through punishment and prison".

They add that they find "incomprehensible" the prison sentences for "enabling a democratic debate" and the "criminalisation of a people who are mostly peaceful and their protest"

The letter concludes by saying that one of the things Latin America has learnt through its history is that the "greatest richness of a nation consists in the recognition and exaltation of its diversity and many cultures."


From Iceland, meanwhile, the speaker of the Althing, the Icelandic Parliament, Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, has expressed his "concern" at the sentences to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

In a letter to the presiding officers of the two bodies, Sigfússon expresses unease at the "harsh prison sentences", especially in the case of former speaker of the Catalan Parliament Carme Forcadell. He also warned of the "grave situation of unease and violence as a result" of the verdicts.

"I encourage you to consider whether the situation in Catalonia deserves more attention on the part of the Assembly," he writes. The speaker adds that he trusts in a "political, democratic and peaceful" solution to the conflict.