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Catalan political prisoners Oriol Junqueras and Raül Romeva this Friday have conveyed to European representatives the need for Spain to pass an amnesty law to release the jailed pro-independence leaders and end the Spanish state's broader repression against the independence movement. Junqueras and Romeva made this demand during an internet meeting with the co-chair of the European Parliament's Greens/EFA group, Philippe Lamberts, in which they analyzed the current political situation in Catalonia, Spain and Europe.

Following the meeting, Lamberts and co-chair Ska Keller sent a message on behalf of the 69 MEPs in the parliamentary group to Spanish prime minister asking for an acceleration of the efforts to reach a political solution which will enable the release of the prisoners, without any specific mention of the amnesty law proposal. 

Pardons are an individual solution  

Junqueras conveyed to the European green leaders the need to pass an amnesty law to "put an end to the repression and persecution that thousands of people suffer", as the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) informs.

The ERC leader explained that pardons - which have been requested for the Catalan prisoners by some third parties - could be an individual solution, but that in his opinion they do not solve the collective problem that exists. For that reason he is committed to finding a solution that "returns to politics what is essentially a political problem, and this is only possible through an amnesty law."

For his part, Raül Romeva wanted to comment on the just-released report on the health of the Rule of Law in the European Union, which emphasised the need for Spain to address the two-years-overdue renewal of its senior judicial body, the General Council of the Judiciary, as well as the relationship pf dependency that exists between the prosecution service and the government, and the Council of Europe's repeated warnings about "politicization of the judiciary".

Romeva stressed that there is a problem that people want to ignore: "The fact that today there are political prisoners, exiles and hundreds of people being persecuted for expressing their opinions or for dissenting politically is a consequence of what this report points out and Europe must be aware of it."

Letter to Sánchez

Following the internet meeting with Junqueras and Romeva, the co-chairs of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, Philippe Lamberts and Ska Keller, sent a letter to Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez, asserting the need for political solutions and, as part of this, for the release of pro-independence leaders and activists imprisoned over the 2017 referendum.

The letter calls on Pedro Sánchez to speed up his efforts to seek a "political solution that will allow the imprisoned leaders to regain their freedom, a measure that has become even more urgent after the court decision to suspend their prison leave regime". The European leaders note that the suspension of the rights to prison leave in the middle of the pandemic has made the personal and family situations of the inmates "even more difficult, if that is possible."

With regard to this point, Lamberts and Keller remind Pedro Sánchez of the recent recommendation made by the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, on the need to "ensure the protection of the health of people imprisoned during the pandemic, through their release to the extent possible."

The letter encourages the "articulation of the available options to launch a political solution". However, while it speaks of pardons and the reform of the sedition law, it omits any mention of the option of an amnesty law. 

"The announcements of processing of the pardons and the reform of the crime of sedition are good news. These measures now need to be accelerated to allow the prisoners to be released from prison. Letter from @SkaKeller and @ph_lamberts to Pedro Sánchez."— Ernest Urtasun (MEP for Comuns)