Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has expressed his deep concern with the jailing of the Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, and four other Catalan MPs by a Supreme Court Judge in Madrid.

They have been charged with rebellion and sedition for facilitating a debate and vote in the Catalan Parliament on holding a referendum on independence.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“The jailing of the Speaker of the Catalan Parliament and four other MPs, who are members of the parliamentary committee which arranges the Parliament’s business, is undemocratic and wrong. I understand the Speaker’s bail has been set at €150,000 and the bail for each MP is €25,000.

“Ms. Forcadell and these four MP’s were simply facilitating the holding of democratic debate and vote in a democratically elected Parliament. It is unacceptable that members of a parliament and a Speaker of a Parliament are being sent to prison for simply arranging parliamentary debates.

“These latest imprisonments come after the Spanish Government fired the Catalan Government, dissolved the Catalan Parliament, and prosecuted 14 Catalan Ministers including the President and Vice-President, for carrying out the democratic mandate that voters gave them.

“Eight of these Ministers are currently imprisoned, without the option of bail, while five are in Brussels, including the Catalan President, where they are fighting their extradition to Madrid. The leaders of the two main grassroots pro-independence groups have also been imprisoned.

“Like many others, I am truly appalled at the approach and provocative actions of the Spanish Government. The prosecution of Catalan Ministers, MP’s, civil society activists, and the Speaker of the Catalan Parliament is completely unacceptable and undemocratic.

“I would again respectfully call on the Spanish Government to turn away from its clearly confrontational approach and to instead enter into internationally mediated negotiations with the Catalan Government to find an acceptable path forward through inclusive dialogue.”