Ynys Môn Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth, who had visited the Catalan Parliament over the Summer, has tabled a Statement of Opinion to express solidarity with the people of Catalonia following the imprisonment of twelve Catalan political and civic leaders this week.
The statement expresses concern on behalf of the people of Wales at the actions of the Spanish state, in imprisoning 12 Catalan political and civic leaders for between 9 and 13 years; notes that the right of self-determination is a fundamental human right; stands in solidarity with the imprisoned leaders of Catalonia and the people of Catalonia; and calls for the annulling of these sentences and for the Government of Spain to engage in a proper and respectful process of dialogue with the Government of Catalonia.
Rhun also spoke in the Senedd on this matter this week. He said:
“Whatever our stance on the principle of smaller nations on these isles, or across Europe, insisting on their right to liberty, and to take responsibility for their own futures, the actions of the Spanish state this week, in imprisoning 12 political and civic leaders for a total of 100 years for the crime of insisting on a voice for their people, should shock and appall us all.
“I was in the Catalan Parliament some two months ago; I am grateful for the welcome that I and my family received there. I stood in the Chamber, where the political leaders insisted that they put their faith in the people that they represent. I stood under pictures of the speakers of that Parliament over the years—politicians who have insisted that Catalonia should be a nation and that it should have its own Parliament to safeguard its interests and give voice to its aspirations. Among them was Carme Forcadell, who is today in prison, guilty of the crime of allowing a debate in that Parliament.
“I know full well that there is a difference of view in Catalonia on the future of the country and on its relationship with the Spanish state, but that state, of course, is denying a voice to those people to decide on their own fate.
“No matter on what side of the debate we might be on the principle of the quest of smaller nations, like ours, to set their own direction as free nations, we cannot just accept what we have seen happening in Spain. We cannot ignore these actions by a so-called modern European state, holding political prisoners—elected representatives; a Parliament’s Presiding Officer in jail. These shameful actions have already sparked protests the length and breadth of Catalonia, and they should spark outrage among all democrats.
“I’m calling for a firm and unambiguous statement from Welsh Government echoing my call and that of my party that all of us, as parliamentarians, should condemn these incarcerations, that we call as an international community at all levels—here in Wales, on a UK level and the European level—that our colleagues are given back their freedom and that we demand respect for the fundamental human right, the right to self-determination.”