Catalan Independence Leaders Sentenced to Heavy Jail Terms

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1914 ... October 22, 2019

Catalan Independence Leaders Sentenced to Heavy Jail Terms

The savage sentences handed down by Spain’s Supreme Court against nine Catalan independence leaders have been denounced by political leaders in Quebec, including Premier François Legault. In the forefront are the deputies of Québec solidaire, who will present a motion this week in the National Assembly condemning the repression and reaffirming the right of self-determination of peoples.

"Jailing elected members because they exercised their democratic duty does not make good sense," said QS deputy co-leader Manon Massé. She was responding to a letter sent to QS by the president of the Catalan parliament asking them to find a way to help in resolving the political conflict in Spain. Massé, who had visited Catalonia in 2017 at the time of the independence vote, testified by videoconference in April during the trial of Jordi Cuixart, leader of one of the social movements supporting independence.

Campaigning in Canada’s federal election, Bloc Québécois leader Yves François Blanchet called on the leaders of the other parties, starting with Prime Minister Justin... Trudeau, to denounce the heavy sentences imposed on the Catalan leaders. Trudeau refused, arguing that it involved an internal Spanish affair. He invoked the same neutrality in 2017 when Spanish police beat Catalan voters who sought to exercise their right to vote. At the time Jagmeet Singh, newly elected leader of the New Democratic Party, denounced Trudeau, saying the right to self-determination was one of the most important rights.

In the article below, Dick Nichols reports on the massive protests that have erupted in Catalonia in response to the court sentences. Nichols is the Barcelona-based European correspondent of Green Left Weekly, from which the article is reproduced, with thanks.

Nichols’ article is followed by extensive excerpts from an article by Viento Sur editor Jaime Pastor critically dissecting the meaning of the Spanish court’s judgment, and in particular the parts in which the court attempts to distinguish the Catalan case from those of other national minority peoples in states of the geographical North, starting with Quebec. My translation from the Spanish.

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