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Crowe expresses concern over pending prosecution of former Catalan President

5 February, 2017 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Seán Crowe TD, has expressed his party’s concern at the pending prosecution of Mr. Arthur Mas, the former President of Catalonia, and two former Ministers, for facilitating a non-binding consultation on Catalan independence which took place on 9 November 2014.

Deputy Crowe said:

“Mr. Mas, along with former Ministers Joana Ortega and Irene Rigau, will come before the High Court on Monday 6 February. They are being prosecuted for helping to organise a non-binding vote on independence in 2014 in which over 2 million people voted.

“This vote took place because the Spanish Government refused to facilitate a democratic vote on Catalan independence. The impressive turnout sent a clear message that the Catalan people want a democratic, legal, and binding referendum to be held.

“They are being accused of civil disobedience for organising an ‘informal independence consultation’ and if found guilty they could be banned from public office for 10 years.

“The prosecution of democratically elected politicians for holding popular polls and consultations puts at risk the very democratic standards that people hold dear throughout the world.”

Crowe continued:

“I am calling on the Spanish Government, even at this late stage, to reconsider the pending prosecution Mr. Mas, Ms. Ortega and Ms. Rigau.

“Additionally there is also the continued prosecution of the Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Ms. Carme Forcadell, for facilitating a debate and vote on independence in the Catalan Parliament.

“The Spanish Government needs to resolve its disagreements with Catalan politicians, including on an independence referendum, through a process of mutual dialogue and respect. They cannot arbitrarily stifle, ignore, or ban the democratic demands of a section of people who are seeking alternative structures outside the current Spanish State.”

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