Scottish MP Ronnie Cowan has described his visit to the Catalan political prisoners last week. In a moving article in Scottish newspaper The National, entitled "Dark days for democracy in Spain's Lledoners prison", Cowan expresses his conviction of the prisoners' innocence and calls for their release.
"It’s a dark day in Barcelona and a dark time for democracy in Spain": that how the MP starts his account. On Tuesday, he visited Jordi Cuixart, Jordi Sànchez and Raül Romeva in Catalonia's Lledoners prison.
Of the three, Cowan focuses on Cuixart, whom he describes as "an incredibly brave, optimistic, intelligent and humble man... [who] refuses to be beaten by the system he opposes" and notes "is quick to point out that he and his fellow political prisoners are innocent of all charges and have been wrongly imprisoned".
He also writes sympathetically about the personal difficulties being held in pretrial detention for so long entails for the leader of Òmnium Cultural. "Jordi Cuixart has been in prison for 11 months and can be held for four years without trial. If found guilty he could face 15 years in prison. His son will be 16 when his father gets out," he writes.
As such, as Cuixart asked him, Cowan challenges his readers to "listen to the stories of these political prisoners and consider the charges against them". His conclusion? "They did not use violence and did not incite it. They helped to facilitate a peaceful democratic protest."
The MP, ends by saying that, although Spanish authorities might not have liked the independence movement, it didn't pose a physical threat. "The prisoners should be released and their families reunited".