Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has welcomed a report by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) that called for the immediate release of 3 Catalan political prisoners – former vice-president of Catalonia, Oriol Junqueras, and two Catalan civil society leaders, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez.

All were arrested and imprisoned in late 2017 and are among 12 Catalan political prisoners currently on trial in Madrid. In recent weeks Oriol Junqueras was elected as an MEP and Jordi Sànchez won a seat in the Spanish congress.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“I travelled to Madrid in March and for two days attended the trial of the 12 Catalan political prisoners. These 12 political and civil leaders are in the dock in what has all the trappings of a political trial.

“This UNWGAD report concludes that the detention of Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez is arbitrary. It also calls for their immediate release and that they should be offered the right to obtain compensation and other forms of reparation in accordance with international law.

“This UN report is a clear condemnation of Spain’s breach of fundamental human rights.

“I welcome this report and I join the calls for the Spanish government to urgently abide by it conclusions and immediately free these political prisoners.

“This is a political issue, not a legal one. The Spanish Government needs to enter into meaningful dialogue with the Catalan Government to find a political solution. It needs to stop using the police and the legal system to attack the Catalan independence movement, which is a legitimate political movement.

“I will be raising this report with the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and calling on him to raise the issue directly with his Spanish counterpart.”