So begins the letter which two of the imprisoned Catalan pro-independence politicians have just addressed to MEPs, in an attempt to remedy the latest development in their situation. Spain's Supreme Court last week delivered a note to prison officials threatening them with criminal charges if they gave permission for the jailed Catalan leaders to be locked down at home instead of in prison during the coronavirus emergency.
Oriol Junqueras, leader of the ERC party, had already decided to take out a civil suit against the court for its" threats and coercion". Now he and imprisoned colleague Raül Romeva have decided to go one step further and take the case personally to the European Parliament. Both have sent a letter to different MEPs explaining the situation and asking them to sign a joint letter to the Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez to express concern about these facts.
.@junqueras i @raulromeva, com a eurodiputat i exeurodiputat, han iniciat una acció a l'Eurocambra per fer públiques i denunciar les amenaces del Suprem a funcionaris i per exigir que @desdelamoncloa trenqui el seu sorollós silenci davant d'aquestes pràctiques antidemocràtiques. pic.twitter.com/GBrAEcwMVP— Diana Riba i Giner (@DianaRibaGiner) April 7, 2020
"Oriol @junqueras and @raulromeva, a current MEP and a former MEP, have begun an action in the European Parliament to publicize and denounce the threats of the Spanish Supreme Court to officials and to demand that the Spanish government @desdelamoncloa break its noisy silence in the face of these anti-democratic practices." — Diana Riba i Giner
In the text, whose full English version is attached to the tweet, Junqueras and Romeva recall that both the UN and the European Commission have recommended that non-violent prisoners should be released to avoid COVID-19 contagion.
"But as a consequence of an unacceptable threat of the Spanish judiciary to public officials of the Prison Boards, we have been denied the temporary release during the COVID-19 crisis, even though we have already spent more than 2 years in prison and we had been granted temporary releases in order to perform work and volunteer duties," says the letter.
The letter notes that the Supreme Court warned the board officials that, if they decided to grant the permission to the prisoners in "the Catalan cause", it would identify by name the officials who supported the agreement, in the context of attributing "criminal responsibilities" for a possible "crime of prevarication".
Junqueras and Romeva say that the prison boards' refusal to grant the permission, following these threats from the Spanish court, "puts human rights in jeopardy" and violates "the separation of powers."