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The Catalan president, Quim Torra, has this Friday sent a letter to acting Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez calling for the Catalan political prisoners Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart to be released. The appeal follows a written opinion from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions revealed earlier this week which finds their detention to be arbitrary and makes the same requests of Spain. The government goes further to say the other prisoners, not party to the application to the group, should nonetheless also be released. Torra's letter was announced by government spokesperson Meritxell Budó after a special cabinet meeting to analyse the report.

In the letter, Torra asks Sánchez to urge the attorney general and the state's legal service to argue in favour of the prisoners' release in the Supreme Court. The president says he'll make the same request through senior Catalan prosecutors. He also calls for an investigation to be started so that "those responsible for this flagrant violation of human rights respond for their acts".

They note that the working group has given Spain six months to comply with its resolution and warn that if they don't do so, they will continue denouncing the situation via international bodies and the Catalan government's delegations abroad.

The announcement of the letter coincided with the news that Spain has called for the recusal of two of the experts behind the report. In a first, off-the-cuff reaction Budó described it as "surreal" that the Spanish government, "instead of confronting the reality of what the ruling says, should come out questioning the body".


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