Self-determination is a democratic right: EFA demands amnesty for Catalan political leaders

Today, the Spanish Supreme Court has found Catalan leaders who promoted the self-determination referendum on 1st October 2017 guilty of severe charges such as sedition and has handed down jail sentences of up to 99 years in total.

The European Free Alliance condemns this verdict, and believes that the criminalisation of the fundamental democratic right to self-determination will only to serve to deteriorate the already difficult relations between Catalonia and the Spanish state.

EFA demands amnesty for all Catalan elected politicians and civil society leaders sentenced for carrying out their democratic mandate and for their commitment to democracy. Organising a referendum and letting people vote cannot be a criminal offence in a functioning democracy.

Tensions will not be resolved with political trials and further repression, but through dialogue, allowing for democratic and political solutions to be found. EFA calls on the European institutions, as well as the wider international community, to support a process of dialogue.

According to the United Nations and to international law, democratic self-determination is not a crime, but an integral element of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms. In Catalonia, there is broad majority in favour of exercising that right, and for holding a referendum on independence. The Spanish government and the international community cannot continue to ignore this reality.