Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Friday, 16 march 2018 | BBC News


Exiled Catalan minister calls for support

A former Catalan minister who has returned to Scotland after fleeing Spain said "all democratic governments" should condemn the imprisonment of her former colleagues.

BBC News
13 March 2018
By Niall O'Gallagher
BBC Scotland political correspondent
Clara Ponsatí was education minister in the Catalan government when it declared independence from Spain in October.

She fled to Brussels with former leader Carles Puigdemont but has now returned to the University of St Andrews.

Prof Ponsatí said she would be sent "straight to jail" if she went home.

Spain's central government took direct control of Catalonia and sacked officials, following the region's banned independence referendum.
Ms Ponsatí escaped to Belgium from Spain along with Mr Puigdemont and three of his former ministers days after the independence declaration in October.

International arrest warrants were issued for all five but they were later withdrawn.

They face charges of rebellion and sedition and risk arrest if they return to Spain.

Four other Catalan leaders, including the former vice-president, Oriol Junqueras, remain in prison for their part in October's independence vote, which is considered illegal by the Spanish authorities.
Speaking to BBC Scotland, Prof Ponsatí said "Every democratic government that thinks of itself as such should condemn that there are political prisoners in Spain.

"It's a democratic outrage that in Western Europe we have people in prison for their political opinions."
But the Spanish government's delegate in Catalonia, Enric Millo, has defended the imprisonment of the Catalan leaders.
He said: "Nobody is in prison for their opinions.

"Someone can be in prison for their actions not for their opinions.

"Nobody likes that there are people in prison. But everyone has to be responsible for their actions".

Prof Ponsatí was director of the school of economics and finance at St Andrews from the beginning of 2016 until she took up her role as Catalan education minister in July 2017. She is now working back at the university.

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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Col·lectiu Emma is a network of Catalans and non-Catalans living in different countries who have made it their job to track and review news reports about Catalonia in the international media. Our goal is to ensure that the world's public opinion gets a fair picture of the country's reality today and in history.

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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia